Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: How Do I Change My Name Back After Divorce?

LauraEThudium | Cincinnati Divorce Lawyers - Family Law

If you changed your name when you got married, how easy is it to change it back after a divorce? In Ohio, it is pretty simple but there are some required steps: 1) Get a court order with your new name, 2) Change your name with the Social Security Administration and 3) Change your name with the BMV.


1) Get a court order.

ORC 3105.16 provides the domestic relations court with the power to “restore any name that the person had before the marriage.” If you are going through a divorce and you want to go back to your previous name, make sure the restoration to your former name is included in your final Decree of Divorce or Dissolution. A spouse has no say in whether one should or can return to a former name. It is important to note that the domestic relations court does not have the power to grant a petition for a name change to a completely new name you never had. This request would have to be done through the probate court in your county.


If you aren’t sure whether you want to be restored to a former name through your divorce, but you later decide that you want a name change, you must go to the probate court in your county to request the name change. You will need to fill out some forms and Ohio Law requires that notice of the application be given once by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the County at least thirty (30) days before the hearing on the application. A final hearing will be set to determine whether your petition for name change is granted. These name changes are typically granted unless the court finds evidence there is a specific reason to deny the name change, such as defrauding creditors. It’s not a difficult or terribly costly process but in contrast, when the name change occurs in a divorce or dissolution, it is merely the matter of adding one sentence to your decree.


2) Change your name with Social Security.

Next, you will need to complete an application (you can complete this online) for a new social security card and show the required documents. Your requested name must match the evidence of the legal name in your court order. Along with a completed application, there are required documents: 1) proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate) if not already established; 2) proof of the name change (certified copy of your divorce decree or court order); and 3) proof of identity (driver’s license, state-issued identification card or passport). The SSA will not accept photocopies or notarized copies.


Once the application and documents are prepared, you can either take them in person or mail them to your local Social Security office. There is no charge for changing the name on a Social Security Card.


3) Change your name with the BMV.

Finally, you will need to go to an Ohio BMV office and request a name change. You will need: 1) Your Ohio driver’s license; 2) Your new Social Security Card; 3) proof of your name change such as divorce decree or court order; and 4) payment for any fees. Once this step is complete, your driver’s license should be changed to reflect your former name.

If you have questions about any of the above steps, you should contact a local attorney who can assist you with this process.