Virginia law allows you to change your name during your marriage, during divorce proceedings, or after your divorce. You do not need your spouse’s consent if you decide to change your name. The decision is yours to make.
Requesting a Name Change While a Divorce Is Pending
If your divorce has not yet been finalized, you can still request that the court legally change your name as part of your divorce proceedings. You do need to file a separate application for a name change. However, your name change request must be included in your initial divorce pleadings or orally during your final divorce hearing. The court may only change your name back to a name you had prior to marriage if you seek the name change during divorce proceedings.
How to Request a Name Change
If your divorce case is not currently active and you are not about to initiate a divorce action, you will need to file a separate application with the court in order to have your name legally changed. This action must be filed in the circuit court of the city or county where you live. The filing must be accompanied with the required fee.
Important Documentation for a Virginia Name Change
When you request a name change, the court will to want to see certain documentation, including:
- A Virginia Application for Name Change. The application will ask for basic information such as your current name, your current address, your parents’ names, whether you have ever been convicted of a felony, and any previous names you have had. The application must be witnessed by a notary public or a clerk of the court.
- Your Birth Certificate. This will provide proof of your maiden name.
- Your Marriage Certificate. This will provide proof of your married name.
- Your Divorce Decree (if one has already been issued). This will provide the court with a non-fraudulent reason why you want to change your name.
If all of your paperwork is in order, your name change should be granted by the court. Once the court grants your name change request, you will need to take steps to change your name with:
- The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- The Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Your banks
- Your credit card companies
- Your retirement and investment accounts
- Your insurance companies
- Your utility companies
- Your employer
- Your kids’ schools
Changing your name because of a divorce may be one of the easier aspects of the divorce process. However, if you have any questions about changing your name or any other issues concerning your divorce, please contact our experienced Fairfax family law attorneys today for an initial consultation.