• Candace E. Duecker, CFP®, CDFA®, AFC®

Name Changes


Like many other aspects of divorce, changing your name also falls in line with the myriad of personal decisions you have to make during the process. Some people keep their married name because they share it with their young children, possibly delaying the change until the kids have grown or when they have re-partnered with someone new. Some prefer to launch their new identity right away and desire to change their name immediately after divorce. Regardless of your reasoning or preferred timing, it is important to know you have choices which you are encouraged to discuss with your attorney. Here are some key things to help you prepare for the name change conversation:

  • Changing your name is not required

  • An order from the court is required to make a change and have the ability to implement it with federal and state agencies

  • You can decide the timing and the new name

Including the name change request in your divorce petition is as simple as that. Your request will then be granted by the court in the final orders and you will subsequently use that document to implement your name change when you desire to personally make it official.

When I went through my divorce, I had the request included in my orders as I knew I would take action on it at some point. I thought I would have done it more immediately but the reality was my divorce was finalized in 2013 but my name was not changed until almost 2 years later. Initially, I had to delay it because of travel plans I had booked with my married name. Then, one month led to another and then another. It was tedious but for me, so worth it. The former Army Officer's wife who was married at 20 years old, only to approach age 31 with a divorce decree, and who used to live life like a chameleon by finding belonging through adapting to the expectations of others - was no longer.

I created a vision for my future without constraints. I stopped making decisions based on "shoulds." I had the power and for me, changing my name reminded me of that.

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