Our Los Angeles family law attorneys at the Land Legal Group know that Divorce brings a multitude of emotional ranges throughout the process. We also know that each California client we represent has unique needs and circumstances that help us build a customized strategy for their case.
Some of our clients are ready to move forward and put their marriage — and divorce — behind them and begin making plans to change their last names back during the proceedings. When they do, we help facilitate the change, so when the divorce is final, the name change is too.
Others are not so sure if they want to change their names back. Either way, it is a personal choice. After all, both spouses are entitled to keep their married names after they divorce. No one can force you or your ex-spouse to change it.
Here are a few reasons why some spouses keep their married names, and how they can change them when or if they decide to.
Why Do Spouses Keep Their Married Names After a California Divorce?
When one spouse takes another spouse’s last name during a marriage, it is often to honor their commitment to becoming one.
Just because the couple gets divorced does not mean one has to change his or her name back.
Common reasons a spouse may keep his or her married name may include:
- To share the same last name with their children.
- To continue its use for professional reasons.
- To maintain a connection with the other spouse’s family.
- To keep from returning to the last name he or she did not like.
Another common reason one spouse may keep the other’s last name is that he or she is simply not ready to let go of it. Others may keep the last name for spite, simply because they know their spouse wants them to change it. No matter why, the choice of whether to change your name after a divorce is entirely yours.
Can I Change Our Kids’ Last Names to Mine After a California Divorce?
If you want to change your children’s last names to your birth name, you will have to ask your ex-spouse for permission.
If he or she says no, you will have to petition the court for a name change, which is typically only allowed if it is in the children’s best interests.
What is the Name Change Process in California?
If you choose to wait until after you are divorced to have your name changed — instead of including it in your divorce proceedings — you can do so in just a few steps.
- Collect Pertinent Documentation
California requires individuals to present qualified name change documents before a change can be made. If you are returning to your previous name, collect your original birth certificate, social security card, and your divorce decree, along with your current identification to prove who you are now, and who you once were.
- Fill Out the Proper Form
To return to your previous name, complete form FL-395.
- Visit the California County Clerk’s Office
Take all documentation, form FL-395, and a filing fee between $435-$450 (depending on which county you are in) to your local California County Clerk’s Office. If you have everything you need on hand, the clerk will update your name change in the statewide database.
Once the update is made, you may begin the process of replacing your driver’s license, social security card, passport, and other important information with your preferred last name.
Contact the Land Legal Group Family Law Attorneys in Los Angeles Today
If you would like to pursue a name change during your California divorce, we can help. Contact our skilled divorce attorneys in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs today.