Going through a divorce is rarely an easy process. For many, restoring your former surname from before your marriage is a big priority because it symbolizes a split with your former partner and a transition to a new life. In fact, roughly 80% of married women in Florida will change their name back to their former surname after a divorce.
In Florida, you can change your name in one of two ways. You can either make this change as part of the dissolution of marriage process, or you can do it through a traditional name change proceeding.
If you would like your former surname restored in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, you must request it in the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. At the final hearing and/or Trial, the Court will inquire whether there is an ulterior motive for the change (i.e. bankruptcy, tax penalties, criminal record, etc.). If none, the Court will execute the final judgment restoring the former surname and/or maiden name.
If you do not include a name change as part of your initial petition, you may have the option to motion for leave to amend your pleadings to include the name change. If you already filed your dissolution pleadings without this request, amending your pleadings may be the option that will be the most cost-effective and least hassle for you.
If not seeking a name change as part of the divorce process, you can still change your name. However, the process will require a bit more substantiation within the verified pleadings. You will need the following sworn statements within your Petition:
Even after you finalize your name change, regardless of which method you use, you will need to provide a copy of your Judgment to effectuate the change with applicable governmental agencies. These include:
Virtually anyone who was aware of your former name should be notified of your name change.