Name Changes

Your name is the designation by which you are known in the community in which you live and work. Legally, it is the designation by which you bind yourself to contracts and other legal documents.

A married woman normally retains the right to use her maiden name and she is not required to adopt the name of her husband. A married woman may adopt her husband’s surname as a matter of custom rather than as a matter of law. If you have adopted your husband’s surname, and you secure a divorce, you can request that your name automatically revert back to your maiden name. If you fail to make this request at the time you secure your divorce, you will have to file a petition to change your name in a separate court proceeding. This will cost you additional fees, so if you want to use your maiden name after you are divorced, make sure that you request that your name revert at the time you secure your divorce decree.

The procedure for changing your name requires that you file a petition in the county where you reside. There is also a publication requirement, which means that you have to publish a notice in the local newspaper of record which states your existing name and that you have applied to change your existing name to a new name.

You can change your name for any lawful purpose, such as simply that you like the way a new name sounds, but you cannot change your name to avoid civil judgments or collection actions by creditors. Additionally, no person may apply for a change of name with the