Restoring maiden name

Instructions for Restoring your Maiden Name

Many people change their names when they get married, but when they get divorced, some individuals wish to have their former name restored. If you would like to keep your name the same, then there is nothing you need to do during the divorce process. If, however, you would like to have your former name restored, doing so is a simple process. This article will address the steps you need to take to restore your former name before or after your divorce has been finalized.

If Your Divorce Has Not Yet Been Finalized

If your divorce has not yet been finalized and you want to restore your former, pre-marriage name, then you need to indicate your desire to restore your former name in your final Judgment paperwork. Once you reach the stage of your divorce where there is a full resolution of all issues in your divorce matter, all you need to do is check box 4(f) on the Judgment (FL-180) form and then write in what is the former, pre-marriage name that you would like restored. This form will be submitted to Court along with all of other forms and paperwork that is part of your Judgment packet.

If Your Divorce Has Been Finalized

If your divorce has already been finalized, and you did not indicate your desire for a restoration of your former name in your Judgment paperwork, don’t worry because there is still a way for you to have your former name restored.

First:

collect the items that you will need to complete the process, including: (1) a copy of your Judgment that was signed by the judge and (2) a blank copy of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (Form FL-395) from the Court’s website (http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/fl395.pdf).

Second:

fill out the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (FL-395) form. If you are not represented by an lawyer, put your name and address in the upper left hand box and indicate “self-represented” where it asks for your lawyer’s name. Where it asks for the Court address, fill in the name of your county where your divorce was finalized as well as the address for the Family Court in that county. Fill in who is the Petitioner and who is the Respondent and write your case number in the appropriate box. In Item #1 of this form, you will need to indicate the date your Judgment was entered. In Item #2 of this form, you will need to write in your full former name. Then, print your name, write in the date, and sign the form. You do not need to fill in any of the information under the “Order” section of the form or under the “Clerk’s Certificate” portion of the form. Those portions of the form are for the Court to fill out. Go to the family law clerk’s office in the county where your divorce was finalized and file this form. Make 2 photocopies of your Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (FL-395) form so that you have 3 copies total (2 copies will be submitted to Court and 1 copy will be kept by you for your records).

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Then:

You will need to file your form by mail. In a large envelope, include the following items: 2 copies of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (FL-395) form and a self-addressed stamped envelope (i.e. an envelope that has the Family Court’s address as the “return” address and your current mailing address as the “recipient’s” address along with sufficient postage for 2 pieces of regular sized paper). Address your large envelope to the Family Court of the county where your divorce case was finalized and put it in the mail.

Once a Judge has reviewed and signed your application to restore your former name, the Court clerk will use the self-addressed stamped envelope that you provided to the Court to mail back to you the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (FL-395) form which will contain the judge’s signature. That document will be your official record that your name has been lawfully restored, so keep that in a safe place.

What to Do After Your Name Has Been Restored

After your name change has been finalized, you will need to notify the Social Security Administration and the DMV of your name change.

Before you change your name with the DMV, you first need to report your name change to the Social Security Administration (SSA). To notify the SSA of your name change, you will need to complete and submit the Social Security Form for Name Change (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf). You can either submit your form to the SSA in person or by mail. When you submit your Social Security Form for Name Change, you will also need to provide: (a) a certified copy of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (FL-395) or Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (FL-180) form that was signed by the judge; (b) a copy of your identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license or U.S. passport; and (c) a copy of a document certifying your U.S. citizenship including a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. Consular Report of Birth; a U.S. passport; a Certificate of Naturalization; or a Certificate of Citizenship. Please note that in order to order a certified copy of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order, you will need to go to the clerk’s office of the Family Court where your divorce was finalized and order a copy there. Make sure that you order 2 certified copies of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order when you go because you will need 1 certified copy for the SSA and 1 certified copy for the DMV. Also, bring your checkbook when you go because you will need to pay a fee of around $30 per certified copy (depending on your county).

After you have completed the above steps for changing your name with the SSA, you will also need to notify the DMV that your name has changed in order to get a new driver’s license that states your restored name. In order to do this, you need to complete and submit a new Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL-44). You will then need to go to your local DMV and bring with you (1) the completed Driver License or Identification Card Application, (2) a certified copy of the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (if you changed your name after the Judgment was filed) or your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage (FL-180) (if you changed your name when you finalized your divorce), (3) your old driver’s license; and (4) your checkbook because it will cost around $30 to order your new driver’s license that contains your restored name. At the DMV, you will give your thumbprint, have your photo taken, surrender your old driver’s license, and pay the fee for the new driver’s license.

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