Each state has different requirements for name changes, so always check for the requirements in the state of residence. Generally, however, make the request in the divorce decree or have it added later. Then change the name through the Social Security office and other government agencies. After that, notify creditors, business entities and work associates.
- Make the request for a name change in your divorce decree
Most states require that the permission to change your name is in the divorce decree. If it is not in your original document, have the decree amended to include the request. Check with your lawyer if you have any questions about the decree and the state requirements.
- Find documentation of the name you want to use
Find documents that show your preferred name. These documents might include an old driver's license, an expired passport or a birth certificate.
- Start with the government
Change your name with the Social Security Administration first. By doing this and getting your new Social Security card, you have proof that your name has been legally changed. You can't file taxes unless your Social Security number is matched to your legal name.
- Notify other businesses and creditors
Most creditors make changing your name fairly easy. Simply call them or log in to a website to make the changes. You might need to send proof to some businesses or accounts. Having your documentation available is helpful.
- Notify friends and family
Start using your preferred name with social media, friends and family. Realize it might take some time for people to get used to your new name.