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How To Change Your Name After A Divorce

After going through a divorce, you want to start fresh and have a sense of independence that comes with being single again. You may want to drop an ex-partner's name from your life entirely, or maybe you're moving ahead with someone new and wish to take your partner's name instead. Whatever the reason, name changes are possible for adults in California.

What’s the Name Change Process in California?

The status of your divorce determines your first step. Depending on where you were divorced or still going through the divorce process, the next steps will be different. If your divorce is final and was granted in California, you can easily contact the court clerk for the next steps. However, if your divorce is not yet final or you were divorced in another state, you’ll need to follow a different process. We’ll list out the differences below:

Finalized Divorce in California

If your divorce was finalized and granted in the state of California, your next steps are relatively straightforward. The California Courts recommend that you find a family law lawyer who can help answer any questions you have about their process:

  1. Contact the court clerk in the county where you filed your divorce case. Click to find your court's website and contact information.

  2. Give the court clerk the case number, case name (names of the parties), and the order/judgment/filing dates, if possible. If possible, include a copy of your Notice of Entry of Judgment (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support) (Form FL-190.

  3. Complete an Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (Family Law) (Form FL-395). Include a self-addressed, stamped return envelope, if necessary.

Finalized Divorce in Another State

If you’re a resident of California but finalized your divorce elsewhere, you still have options. The California Courts recommend:

  1. Contact the court that ordered your divorce and find out if there is a simple process for you to change your name in that divorce case even if you no longer live in that state,

  2. Follow the steps to file a regular Petition for Change of Name in your local California superior court.

Divorce is Not Yet Finalized

If your divorce is in California but not yet finalized, you can request to have your previous name restored. You can file for this while you’re submitting other divorce paperwork to the court. They may be able to fulfill your request and revert your name back before your divorce is finalized.

If you have questions about the divorce process or how to change your name, please contact us. Our offices are open, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.