Changing your name after a Texas Divorce

If you are seeking to change your legal name after the conclusion of your divorce then you are in luck. Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will focus on that topic.

Seeing as how you are familiar with the divorce process then it should come as no surprise that you will need to keep a certified copy of your Final Decree of Divorce handy. The reason for this is because you most likely asked for a your name to be changed as a part of your divorce. You can request that it be changed to any name you would like as long as it is not to avoid creditors or criminal prosecution. Your driver’s license or other photo identification will be necessary to initiate most name changes as well as your birth certificate.

Check your Divorce Decree before proceeding further

It is fairly commonly for a woman to request a name change in conjunction with a divorce. It can be an unwanted reminder of a marriage that did not work in the long term. The name change will likely be towards the end of the document. If your divorce is not yet final make sure that you have your attorney request a name change at the outset of your case. If this was not done you can always amend your petition for divorce as long as you are not within thirty days of your trial date.

Assuming that your name change request was granted and included in your Final Decree of Divorce then you will need to inform whatever government agency of the legal change in your name. Let’s go through some of the more frequently asked about places where your name change will need to be acted upon

Social Security Card

You will need to fill out a form called “SS-5” through the Social Security Administration in order to facilitate to changing of the your name on your Social Security card. To change the information on your card you must provide the government with documents in order to prove your identity, support the change you are requesting and establish the reason for the change.

For example, your name change request requires you to provide a copy of your Divorce Decree which shows your new and old name in use. A driver’s license will also be needed in order to verify your identity. Once you have the required documents you can head over to any Social Security office with the completed form.

Once you are in the office the folks working there will review your personal documents and then give to you a certificate showing that your name change request has been approved by Social Security. The certificate is important as you can request other name changes on various documents while you wait to actually get your new social security card which bears your updated name.

Getting a Driver’s License with your new name imprinted

Another place that as a recently divorced person you may want to go is the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Public Safety offices in order to get a new Driver’s License. It’s almost as American as apple pie to make fun of the long lines and longer waiting times at these offices but unfortunately you cannot request a new Driver’s License by phone or via the internet. A typical wait time to get your new driver’s license is approximately six weeks.

Changing your name on bank accounts

If you have checking or savings accounts at a bank or credit union then you will likely want to have your name updated on these accounts quickly after your divorce. Your Final Decree of Divorce (typically a certified copy) is all you will likely need to get a name change done.

Changing the name on the Deed to your home

Sort of on a separate issue, I wanted to touch on changing the name on the deed to your home. Suppose that you were awarded the family home in your divorce case and you would like to have your ex-spouse’s name removed. Fortunately there is a process that your attorney can help you complete prior to your divorce’s conclusion.

You will need to have a Special Warranty Deed executed which, after being signed by both you and your ex-spouse, can be filed with the County or District clerk in the county where you reside. This way your ex-spouse will no longer be listed as a person with an ownership interest in the home. Typically the Special Warranty Deed arrangement is spelled out in the Divorce Decree itself. This way you can always seek to enforce the terms of the Decree should your ex-spouse for some reason never get around to executing the Special Warranty Deed as instructed in the Decree.

If you seek to sell your home in the future this is an important step to undertake. Furthermore, keeping a certified copy of your Divorce Decree handy is smart as your Title Company may want to include a portion of the Decree with your closing documents. Even if you never plan on selling the house it is smart to have your ex-spouse’s name removed for no other reason than the emotional closure it can provide to you after the divorce has been concluded.

Questions about steps to take after your divorce has concluded? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today

Thank you for showing an interest in today’s blog topic and the discussion we had. If you have any questions that went unanswered in our blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week in which your questions can be answered.

Our licensed family law attorneys represent clients across southeast Texas and we would be honored to do the same for you and your family. We provide top notch representation to our clients on a variety of family law issues and look forward to hearing from you to discuss your legal matter.


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