Changing Your Name during or after Divorce in New York

Going through a divorce is a tough emotional process. Many people, especially those exiting shorter marriages, want to change their married name back to their maiden name. In New York, you can do that during your divorce proceedings or after, though it's faster and simpler to do so while your divorce case is still active.

You can resume a former name in your New York divorce process

In New York, the simplest way to change your name back to your maiden name is to request this action during your divorce proceedings. You cannot ask the court to change your name to something entirely new, but you can request the court to legally change your name back to your maiden name.

How to request a name change in New York divorce proceedings

The process is fairly simple. When you file your petition for dissolution – or your response, if your spouse was the one who filed for divorce – you make a formal request to change your name back to your maiden name. When the divorce is final, the judge will issue an order that legally changes your name to your maiden name.

Must-do tasks after a name change in New York

To keep your identification cards and other personal affairs accurate, you'll need to notify the following entities:

  • The New York DMV
  • Social Security Administration
  • Banks
  • Credit card holders
  • Employer

Note: This is just a small list meant to get you started. Your specific situation may require you to notify more places. 

It's important to notify these places for several reasons:

Legal compliance

All legal documents (such as your driver’s license, passport, and Social Security card) must reflect your correct name.

Financial matters

Updating your new name with banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions helps prevent problems with accessing your accounts or conducting transactions.


If you change your name during or after a divorce, it’s important to update your employer so that they can update their records and payroll systems accordingly.

Personal identification

Having different names on different forms of identification can lead to confusion or suspicion when using them for verification purposes.

Getting a change of name after you receive your final divorce decree

Changing your name after your divorce has been finalized is possible, though it's more complex than changing your name during the divorce process.

You'll need to submit a petition for a legal name change, pay a filing fee, and appear before a judge to explain why you want to change your name. The end result will probably be the same, but you'll incur more expenses and lose more time if you wait to change your name until after your divorce.

Hello Divorce offers resources to help you before, during, and after divorce, from changing your last name to knowing how to file divorce paperwork with your court clerk.