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Question about changing name after divorce

Discussion in 'Divorce, Separation, Annulment' started by hmw5312, Sep 2, 2020.

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  1. hmw5312

    hmw5312 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Indiana
    So, I have a question. I had it written into my divorce that I would take back my previous name. The divorce was final today. Decree issued. I have had several people tell me I do not HAVE to change my name just because it says it there and that it won't be legally changed to my previous name until I go to the Social Security office to change it. Then I had someone tell me that having it in my decree makes it legally changed when the judge signs and I now HAVE to change it. Which is true?

    The thing is i'm starting a new job and for several reasons I was hoping to wait to make the name change official. And thought about possibly not changing it back at all. But I was hoping to wait until November to change everything. So what is the case? Do I HAVE to change it now? If so, is there a timeframe in Indiana that I have to complete it? Is it legally changed back as of now by the decree? OR is it not legally changed until I go to the SS office? Can I choose to wait a couple of months to change it or not change it at all?

    It was a simple divorce, agreed on, no kids, no joint debt, we filled the paperwork out ourselves, had it notorized and turned it in for the judge to sign. There are no issues between my ex husband and I. I'm just trying to understand the process here.



    Thanks!
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    How is your decree worded? Mine says "It is ordered that the name _______ be restored to the Petitioner (my ex).

    If it's worded as an order then I don't think you have any choice but to do it, but I don't think anybody will give you a hard time waiting a couple of months.
     
  3. hmw5312

    hmw5312 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    It says Respondent would like the following name restored. Respondent shall hereinafter be known as.. then my name.
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    By way of background bear in mind that the process to change your legal name outside the divorce context starts with petitioning your state courts for the name change. Social Security, IRS, the DMV, etc do not change your name. They simply update their records to reflect the name change after the court grants it.

    In most states when you get divorced you may ask the court to change your name when the divorce is granted. If the court does that, it has the same effect as getting a name change from the court in a separate name change action. In other words, getting the name changed in the divorce order saves you having to take the extra step of a new court process to change your name.

    It appears from what you said above that this is what happened with you. The court approved the name change you requested, which then becomes official when the divorce is final. In short, if the divorce is now final your name has already been legally changed to what you wanted as a result of the court including the name change in the divorce order.

    So now that your name has changed, you need to start the process of updating your records with government agencies (SSA, IRS, DMV, etc), with employers, insurance companies, and so forth. Generally I recommend you start with SSA because many of the other places will want to see the name change with SSA before they change their records.
     
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  5. hmw5312

    hmw5312 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay, so it was just final today. Can I amend the final decree to NOT change my name?

    IF not.. how long do I have to get all of this done? SS offices are closed right now. And I'm starting a new job right now too.. so it's all a mess. They have everything as my married name at my new employer. I just filled out paperwork as my married name.
     
  6. hmw5312

    hmw5312 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    It's going to get sticky starting the job AND trying to change my name.
     
  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You need to ask your lawyer in the case, if you had one, or find a family law attorney in your state to ask about amending the decree.

    I think that while your legal name appears to be changed by the court order that you have some time to get that updated with the relevant agencies before you need to tell your employer of the name change. The employer's records will need to match SSA and IRS records, and perhaps DMV too, so you'd not want to change it with the employer until you made those other changes. For the most part those changes won't be difficult to do. A little time to fill out all the forms and attach the other needed documents and waiting a little for the agencies to process them. In other words, if you like the new name then just start through the process of updating SSA, then DMV, and IRS, and then your employer. Until then, use the married name at work.

    It shouldn't be a big deal to any of them that you are changing your name. It happens all the time in divorces. Don't freak out over this and make it in your head a bigger deal than it really is.
     
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  8. hmw5312

    hmw5312 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Would the clerks office be able to tell me if it's able to be amended?

    And the thing is.. i'm just starting this new job next Tuesday. I'm filling out paperwork, my i9 on Friday and insurance next week. So it should be okay to just use my married name on all of that? And not tell them about the change until I get the new SS card and ID? Even though the divorce was final yesterday?

    I wouldn't be in a hurry, but someone told me there might be a time limit that I have to get it changed on everything. I know the BMV says 30 days... but i'm stressed because SS offices aren't even open for in person visits.

    I know they deal with these changes all the time, it's just that it's all happening at the same time. And I don't want anything to interfere with me starting this job. But I want everything to be legal too..
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  9. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Yes. The employer will want to have the married name right now because that's right now how you are known to all the various agencies the employer deals with and, indeed, to pretty much everyone because you haven't started using it yet.

    In ideal circumstances you'd be able to get this all done very quickly. But with the impact of the covid-19 virus you're going to probably encounter delays. You can only get it done as fast as circumstances allow, and I don't see you getting into legal hot water over it.

    Yes, you do want to start the process of changing your name with the various agencies fairly soon. It doesn't have to be the very day the name change order came from the court, though. And then once you put in the name change requests whatever time it takes the agencies to complete them is the time it takes. You can't control that. Until you change the name with a particular agency or your employer, use your married name when dealing with that agency. The use of your married name here is not being done to try to commit fraud or mislead anyone. It's just being done during a transition period from using one name to another.
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Presumably, none of these folks are lawyers, because changing your name with the Social Security office is absolutely NOT what it takes to effect a legal name change.

    Please provide us with the EXACT wording of the relevant provision in your decree (with names removed or changed).

    Please provide an exact quote.

    You don't "have to change it" because, depending on the wording in the decree, it probably already has been changed.

    Then why did you ask that the name change be part of the divorce?

    No. Only the court can amend a decree.
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    It doesn't matter what people tell you to do regarding changing your name in Indiana.

    It does matter what the governing officials and laws of your state (IN) say about LEGALLY changing your name.

    Before I reveal that important information, you (as is anyone else) are FREE to go by whatever name you wish all across this great nation.

    The famous actor "John Wayne" was born "Marion Robert Morrison".
    Yet, he chose to be known by John Wayne.
    He didn't legally change his name, he just assumed the name he chose until the day he died.

    This is what the Marion County Clerk has to say about name changes in Marion County (including Indianapolis) Indiana:

    After you are married, you may want to change your last name to your spouse’s last name. This is done through the Social Security Administration.

    To change your last name, you will need to complete an application for a new Social Security card. You will also need proof of United States citizenship, proof of identity (a valid driver’s license, state issued identification, or U.S. passport), and a certified copy of your marriage license.

    Take the documents to your local Social Security office. The office will process your application and mail you a new Social Security card within two to three weeks. It will have your same Social Security number but with your married name.

    indy.gov.


    In addition:

    Name change not involving marriage
    The Indiana Coalition for Court Access website: Name Change Forms | Indiana Legal Help | Legal Documents | Indiana Bar provides forms for legal name changes. These forms do not replace the advice of an attorney.


    When I was married (many moons and suns ago) My wife and I chose to honor each other by hyphenating our names.
    I became Doofus Jones-Smith (for example) and she became Goddess Smith-Jones.
    Prior to our marriage I was Doofus Jones, and she was Goddess Smith.
    I changed my name with the army, drivers license agency, social security, passport agency, etc.
    She changed hers with the drivers license agency and on her passport.
    Many moons and suns have passed, and no calamity has befallen us.
    The IRS knows us as: Doofus Jones-Smith and Goddess Smith-Jones.

    For purposes of full disclosure, neither of us have ever resided in IN.

    You can continue using your married name for example: Susan Green.
    You could start the name changing process whenever you desire to become: Susan Purple.

    If you require further guidance, ask your divorce attorney, or speak to any licensed attorney in your state.

    If this really worries, you can retain an Indiana attorney and request her/him to write a legal opinion regarding changing your name under the circumstances you describe, or simply request that he/she shepherd our name changing request to ensure it is legal.

    These sites might be helpful to you:

    Free Indiana Name Change Forms - How to Change Your Name in IN - PDF | eForms – Free Fillable Forms

    How to Change Your Name in Indiana - FindLaw

    How to Change Your Name in Indiana (with Pictures) - wikiHow

    https://www.indianalegalservices.or...me Change Packet- ILS LGBT Project 2017_0.pdf

    Indiana Name Change Online and Free – NewLastName

    Nevertheless, I wish you a happy life.
     

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