How can I go back to my maiden name if my divorce decree doesn't say this? I can't afford the filling fees for a name change.

Asked almost 3 years ago - Mcdonough, GA

I need a way to have this corrected without the expense of an attorney or the filing fees. My divorce decree doesn't state I can go back to my maiden name. Social Security has already changed my name, but I can't change it at the DMV. The DMV said the decree has to have this stated in order for them to make any changes. I called to see about having my decree amended, but I was told it was too late to make an amendment to the divorce decree.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. J. Thomas Salata

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Check your local jurisdiction. In Georgia you have to file a petition and pay the filing fee. Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance

  2. Jennifer Nichole Johnson

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . If the final decree did not order a name change, then legally your name remains your married name even if you could convince DDS to change it. It could come back to haunt you if you don't pursue the legal name change.

    If an attorney somehow dropped the ball, then your best bet may be to contact them first to see if they can assist you. If not, then you need to file the proper paperwork in your county of residence. Filing fees are generally in the $200 - $250 range and notice must be published for four weeks, usually costing $80.

    This information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice... more
  3. Glen Edward Ashman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Eric's answer to you is simply legally incorrect.

    Under Georgia law, you retain your married name unless you ask for restoration in the divorce. The only way to change it now is to file a name change case. My office does handle these for a reasonable fee so feel free to call me to discuss the costs.

    You made a bad mistake with Social Security (which should NOT have changed your name without a decree). The Georgia DDS (we no longer have a DMV) cross checks license records with SS records on a regular basis. When they find the mismatch, you will be sent a notice that your drivers license is suspended. So act quickly.

    It's unfortunate that you did not have counsel to tell you to ask for a name change in the divorce (it would have been free). The good news is that it isn't all that costly now. Don't wait for your license suspension.

  4. Ikemesit Amajak Eyo

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . Your only options are 1) pay the filing and publication fees or 2) request that the court waive the fees. Because of the simplicity of adult name changes, an attorney would not be required; though most would be rather affordable. Regardless, you will HAVE to either obtain a court order ASAP or correct your SS card back to your currently legal name (your married name) until a legal name change is granted.

    The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor... more
  5. Eric Zev Reimer

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Speak to an attorney licensed to practice in your state. I'd also try to speak with a couple of managers at the DMV to impress upon them how ridiculous it is that they aren't changing your name even though SS already has. Absent that, I would assume that if you can't modify your divorce decree, you could still apply to legally change your name back to your maiden name.

    Lots of luck to you, I hope this case works out in your favor.

    Mr. Reimer is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an... more

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