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Raleigh, NC Name Change Lawyers

Smithfield Name Change In Divorce Attorneys

Attorneys in Wake County Help Divorced Clients Change Their Names

In today's world, many couples maintain the tradition of the wife taking her husband's last name upon getting married. Other couples choose to hyphenate their names. Changing your name after your marriage is relatively easy, but doing so after a divorce is often more complex.

Depending on the circumstances, a person who changed their name for the sake of the marriage—usually the wife—might not wish to keep the other spouse's surname, hyphenated or not. The breakdown of the marriage may have created animosity or there just may no longer be a real connection to the name anymore. Whatever your reasons may be, the skilled attorneys at the Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC can help guide you through the process of obtaining a name change in the wake of your divorce.

Name Change in a North Carolina Divorce

When you get divorced in North Carolina, your last name will not be changed automatically. It is often much easier to take your spouse's last name than to change it back when the marriage ends. There are many things to think about when deciding whether to seek a name change after your divorce. Your children are a good example. Many divorcing individuals choose to keep their married name so as to maintain continuity with their children and to prevent negative perceptions that can develop when their children use a different name.

Another consideration is that the person is younger at the time of the marriage compared to the time of the divorce. As time goes by in the marriage, the new name is likely to become attached to business interests and property ownership, as well as to a professional reputation. Thus, changing the name after a divorce means updating your name everywhere that it might found, including on property deeds, insurance policies, utilities, and the Social Security system.

The Process of Changing Your Name

The law in North Carolina allows a person to change his or her name at any time, but most such changes take place around the time of a marriage or a divorce. Section 50-12 of the North Carolina general statues specifies that a woman who has obtained a divorce can apply to have her name changed to:

  • Her maiden or birth name;
  • The last name of a prior deceased spouse; or
  • The last name of a prior living spouse if her children use the same last name.

If a man wishes to change his name, he must have changed it previously due to the marriage, and his only option is to return to the name he used before.

The easiest way to apply for a name change is to include the application in the petition for divorce. If the other party files the divorce petition, the application for a name change can be included in the answer or counterclaim for divorce. When the name change request is part of the divorce petition or answer, the court has the authority to include an order for the name change as part of the divorce judgment.

As surprising as it may be, many divorcing individuals do not remember to request a name change as part of their divorce. In such a case, a separate petition must be filed with the Clerk of Courts in the county of residence or the county in which the divorce was handled.

The attorneys at the Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC understand that changing your name after a divorce can be complicated. We will work with you to simplify the process and to ensure that you have made the appropriate changes wherever they are necessary. Our goal is to help you move forward into your new life with the security and independence you have earned.

Schedule a Free Consultation

For more information about name changes in a North Carolina divorce, contact our office. Call 919-533-7000 or 919-989-3000 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. Our attorneys represent clients in Raleigh, Wake County, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Smithfield, Johnston County, and the neighboring communities. Hablamos Espanol.

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