Changing your last name after a divorce, tips from San Luis Obispo’s We Help You Legal

divorce San Luis Obispo

It’s common practice for you to take your spouse’s last name at marriage. The most common practice is when the bride takes her husbands last name, but it’s also quite legal in California for the groom to take his wife’s last name and for one spouse in a same-sex marriage to take the other spouse’s last name. Another common practice is for one, or both, spouses to hyphenate the last name.

Upon a divorce the easiest way to reinstate your last name to what it was before marriage is to request the reinstatement as part of the divorce proceedings. But there are some good reasons that this isn’t done at that time:

  • Parents feel different last names might be confusing to young children
  • For professional reasons
  • Your ex remarries
  • It was easier to keep your married name at the time of the divorce
  • You filed your own divorce and forgot to request the name change. Working with a legal document assisting service for divorce, like San Luis Obispo’s We Help You Legal can help make sure nothing is overlooked.

Many keep their married surname for the rest of their lives or until they remarry. But quite a few reach a point where they wish to reinstate the last name on their birth certificate. Those reasons can include the children reaching the age they can understand the name change, starting a business, financial reasons, or you just want your own name back.

The easiest part of reinstating your birth name is ordering a certified copy of your birth certificate, paying the court fees and filing the correct form for a name change. It’s after your name change is official that most of the work begins.

You want to be sure that you change your name on important accounts, licenses and more, such as:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Trusts in which you are the trustee or a beneficiary
  • Medical records
  • Advanced Health Care Directive
  • Powers of attorney
  • State and federal tax records
  • Employer records
  • Children’s school records
  • Social Security
  • Driver license
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Property deeds
  • Insurance polices
  • Retirement accounts
  • Professional licenses
  • College degrees and professional certifications
  • Permits, business licenses, and DBAs associated with your business
  • Ownership records for purebred registered pets, horses and livestock
  • Partnership agreements
  • And more

Even when your name is changed at the time of divorce, you are still going to have to change your name with government, financial and professional institutions and more. We Help You Legal can help you create a checklist of the agencies and organizations you need to contact about changing your name after a divorce. Staff at both San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles offices are available to help. 

To change your name on all of your records:

  • Contact the agency, organization or company to find out how to change your name in their records
  • Have enough copies of the court order for your new name available
  • Complete any forms required by each institution and include a copy of the court order if requested
  • Do what can be done online and be sure to print confirmations
  • Either take the forms or mail the forms to the correct address
  • Create a checklist containing the approximate date your name change is to be recorded
  • Follow-up with those institutions that have not confirmed by the expected date

We Help You Legal is a legal document assisting service, providing a wide range of assistance from offices in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, including divorce, custody matters, living trusts, healthcare directive and power of attorney, landlord and tenant issues, name changes and more. The company is licensed and bonded in California, San Luis Obispo County LDA # 260 Exp. 11/2/22 Bond #65279225. Business License #6893.

We Help You Legal is a “self-help” legal document assistance company that provides document preparation without the high cost of an attorney. We Help You Legal, Inc. is not a law firm. We cannot represent you in court, advise you about your legal rights or the law, or select forms for you.

Schedule your appointment today.