Name Change during or after Illinois Divorce

One of the many decisions you may face in divorce is whether to change your name. It’s a deeply personal choice that may be influenced by a variety of factors.

If you decide that a name change is right for you, it's important to understand the name-changing process. Let’s look at what the process entails both during and after an Illinois divorce.

How to change your name in Illinois during divorce proceedings

Changing your name in Illinois during divorce proceedings can be a straightforward process if you follow the correct steps and meet the necessary requirements.

At the start of the divorce process

If you're early in the divorce process, you can request a name change in your divorce petition or response. Simply note in your petition or response that you'd like to change your name, and state the name you'd like.

In the middle of the divorce process 

If you're further into the divorce process, you can still file a petition for a name change. This is just like any other document you'd file during your divorce, and it specifies the name you'd like to change to when your divorce is finalized.

In your marital settlement agreement

You can also include a name change request in your marital settlement agreement. In this document, you can note you'd like to change your name. When your divorce is finalized, the judge will integrate your marital settlement agreement into the final divorce decree, making your new name legal.

Read: What Is a Settlement Agreement?

It's important to note that the option to change your name does not only apply to revert to a maiden name or another former name. You are also free to request a completely new name.

How to change your name after your Illinois divorce has been finalized

Changing your name after your divorce has been finalized in Illinois is a different process than the one explored above. It requires extra steps and additional documents for success.

Filing a petition

The first step is to file a petition for change of name. This alerts the court that you want to change your name. It can be done at any point in a person's life and is commonly done after divorce.

Publishing a notice

If you’re changing your name for a reason unrelated to divorce, you generally must publish a notice of your name change, though there are exceptions to this rule. If you're changing your name because of your divorce – even if you're doing it after the divorce has been finalized – you do not need to publish notice. 


Once the court has received your request for a name change, they'll schedule a hearing. In most cases, the hearing is a formality where the judge asks you a few questions to make sure you understand the implications. As long as they're satisfied, you'll walk out of court with a new name.

Here is a list of documents you might need for this process:

  • Certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Certified copy of your divorce decree (if applicable)
  • Fingerprinting or a criminal background check (may be required in some cases)
  • Proof of residency in Illinois (e.g., utility bills, a lease agreement)
  • Completed adult or minor petition for a name change

Read: Divorce Decree vs. Divorce Certificate: Are They Different?

How much does it cost?

Before your divorce is final

During the divorce process in Illinois, you can request a name change as part of your divorce proceedings at no additional cost. You can then use this document to change your name with government agencies and businesses.

After your divorce is final

If you decide to change your name after your divorce has been finalized, there are additional costs involved. Here is a breakdown of these costs:

  • Filing fee: This is the fee to file your forms with the Circuit Clerk. Filing fees vary from county to county, but they typically fall around $300 to $400.
  • Court-related fees: Depending on the county, there may be additional court-related fees. You'll need to get at least a few certified copies of the court order changing your name. These generally cost a dollar or two each.

Please note that these costs are estimations and can vary based on your location and specific circumstances. Always check with your local county courthouse or a legal professional for the most accurate information.

Important steps to take after your name change

Changing your name is a legal process that involves more than just getting a new name. You must also notify several government agencies, financial institutions, and other organizations of your new name to make sure your records are updated. 

Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA)

The SSA is one of the first agencies you should notify. You can do this by filling out and submitting a Social Security Card Application (Form SS-5) along with proof of your name change, proof of identity, and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful non-citizen status.

Update your driver's license at the DMV

Next, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to update your driver's license. This typically involves filling out a form, providing proof of your name change, and paying a small fee.

Update your passport

If you have a passport, you'll need to update it to reflect your new name. The process depends on how long it has been since your passport was issued. If it was issued less than a year ago, you can use Form DS-5504. If it was issued more than a year ago, you will need to use Form DS-82.

Change your name on financial accounts

Contact your bank, credit card companies, insurance providers, and any other financial institutions to inform them of your name change. They will likely require proof of your name change and may have specific forms for you to fill out.

Notify other relevant agencies and companies

Don't forget to update your name with other relevant entities, such as:

  • Your employer
  • Schools and educational institutions
  • Utility companies
  • Medical providers
  • Voter registration office
  • Post office
  • Any other places where your old name might still be on file

Remember, changing your name is a legal process, so it's important to update all relevant parties to avoid potential complications down the line.

Hello Divorce is here to provide you with information and services to make your divorce journey easier. We recommend these blogs if you are going through a divorce in Illinois:

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.