Do I have to change my last name if I am getting a divorce?

It is understandable that many women who used a husband’s surname in marriage would want to use their maiden name after a divorce, but a divorce does not automatically result in a name change. Many women also choose to keep their last name because they want to have the same name as their children or they want to maintain a consistent identity in their professional lives.

If you decide you would like to change your name, it is relatively easy in Georgia to do so as part of your divorce, but your name will not be legally changed until the divorce is finalized. You can make a name change request in your complaint for divorce or your answer to a complaint for divorce, and once your divorce is finalized, the divorce decree will include your name change. Your divorce decree will also be the documentation you use to change your name on your driver’s license.

If your divorce is already finalized and a name change was not included, you are not out of luck. Changing your name outside of marriage or divorce can be a little more difficult, though it is still an option. For this, you can submit a petition to your local Superior Court explaining why you would like the change. You will then need to run a notice for four weeks in a local newspaper. If no one responds to the notice with an objection, the judge will likely grant your name change.

If you are getting a divorce, there are good reasons for changing your name, and there are good reasons not to. Ultimately, you get to decide what course of action is the best fit for you.

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