Divorce brings about a lot of changes.

This is no less true for the people getting divorced than it is for their child(ren). Divorce can often mean a new home, a new school, or even a new state. For parents it can mean a new budget, a new job, or maybe returning to school, just to name a few. One of the changes that is often at issue in a divorce and thereafter is a name change.

During a divorce, it is not uncommon for a person who changed his/her name to want to return to their previous name.

This is easily accomplished in the final divorce decree. The court can simply include in the final decree that the person’s previous name is restored. That document can then be used to acquire a new driver’s license, Social Security card, and other essential documents. It is not possible for one person to force their ex to keep the married name.

Furthermore, if someone returns to their pre-marriage name at the time of the divorce but later changes their mind and wants to return to their married name, they can file a petition for a name change with the court. It is not a difficult process, and once again, the other spouse cannot oppose this change. Finally, if the person remarries, they are of course free to change their name to whatever they decide fits.

The process for a name change of a minor is not as simple.

Under Minnesota statute §259.10, a parent seeking to change a child’s last name must provide notice to the other parent. Legal notice means that the other parent must be properly served with the petition for a name change. If the applicant parent does not know where the other parent currently resides, then service must be done by publishing an ad in the newspaper in the county where the other parent was last known to reside, upon receiving permission from the court. That parent then has the right to come to court to oppose the request for a name change, and the court will apply a number of statutory factors in making its decision.

We have helped many clients unusual and complicated issues, including name changes. If you need help sorting any of this out, contact your DIYvorce support team.


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