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Name Change After New Jersey Divorce

When a New Jersey couple chooses to end their marriage and get a divorce, one of the aspects of the proceeding might be a name change. If one member of the couple took the name of the spouse, there might be a desire to return to the maiden name or another name once the divorce has been completed. In some cases, the choice is to retain the married name post-divorce. In others, the decision to revert to the maiden name or select another name is made as part of a moving forward process from the marriage. In completing a name change after a divorce, there are certain procedures that must be followed in order to do it legally.

Changing Your Name In New Jersey

During the initial paperwork, the person who wishes to obtain the name change will file the request. It is routine that the request will be granted during the divorce hearing provided the person who is seeking the name change is not doing so to avoid paying creditors or to escape a criminal prosecution.

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Changing one's name during the final divorce hearing costs nothing, but it is required that the person seeking the name change appear in court to answer some questions regarding the name change. The court will ask questions of the individual seeking the name change concerning whether or not the individual is under criminal investigation, if there has been a bankruptcy filing, or whether the name change is an attempt to avoid paying creditors. There must be a statement giving the reason for the name change. It's not relevant what the reason is as long as the name change is not being done for any of the above reasons. In general, a person seeking a name change will simply state that the desire is to revert to the maiden name or change to a different name and that will be enough for the request to be granted.

If the other spouse in a divorce proceeding, for whatever reason, attempts to prevent the name change, it cannot be done. The court has no interest in the other spouse's opinions in this matter. On the same token, if the spouse wants the opposing spouse's name to be changed, the court cannot force this to happen. It is entirely up to the person who might or might not want the name change.

In regards to children, there is a difference. There must be a separate filing made to change a child's name and both parents must be notified and, in most cases, both must consent to it. The name change for the spouse does not have to be back to the maiden name, it can be to any name the person chooses.

It is not required for the divorce to be final before the spouse seeking a name change can start using the different name. However, in order to change the name on a driver's license, for example, there must be a certified copy of the court order detailing the name change before the documents can be altered to the new name. This will be possible after the divorce has been finalized.

The name can be changed after the divorce is final. There will be a fee associated with it, but the court will allow it. In certain instances, it might be necessary to appear in court to answer the required questions.

How To Change A Child's Name

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A child's name cannot be changed as part of the divorce proceeding. The child's name can be changed as part of a different court proceeding. If one parent wants to change a child's name, in general, it is required that both parents agree to the change. There are circumstances that a child's name can be changed without the consent of the other parent depending on the judge's determination of the situation and if the name change is in the best interests of the child.

The court will take into account numerous factors regarding a potential name change. Some of the issues that the court will examine are: the reason or reasons the parent wants to make the name change; the reason or reasons the other parent does not want the name to be changed; the relationship between the child and both parents; the amount of time the child has been known by the original surname; how the child identifies with the family; what influence a name change might have on the child; how the child feels about the name change; the child's age and capacity to contribute to the decision; and any other factors that might have a bearing on the name change.

Changing A Child's Name After A Divorce

In order to change a child's name in New Jersey, there are certain procedures that must be followed and forms that must be filled out. The proper forms must be filled out and the filing fee must be paid. If there is more than one child who is having a name change, the forms must be filed separately, but there is only a single filing fee. Along with the filing fee, two copies of the forms will be sent to the court for each child whose name is going to be changed.

You will also have to appear in court for a hearing. The notification of the date of the hearing must be published in a newspaper ad to ensure that the decision to change the name of the child or children is publicly known in the event that someone opposes the name change. In addition, you will also have to notify the other parent and family members of the name change and bring to court proof that these notifications were made.

On the date of the hearing, you are required to attend. At the hearing the judge will question you regarding the child and why you would like to have the child's name changed. If there are people who support or object to the name change, they too will be heard from at the hearing.

Following the decision, the result must also be published in a newspaper ad. Certified copies of the judge's decision must be sent to specific government agencies to notify them of the name change once it has been made.

Give Us A Call About Changing Your Name In New Jersey

When there is a divorce in progress, a name change might not be the most important thing on a person's mind, but it is a common decision on the part of people who have ended their marriage to revert to their unmarried name or even a name that they have chosen themselves. It is a relatively simple process, but there are times at which it is easier to do it and if the change is made after the divorce has been finalized, there will be a fee to effectuate the name change.

If you or a loved one are planning a divorce, are in the process of a divorce or have completed a divorce in Toms River, Brick, Jackson or any other town in New Jersey and would like to change your name, you should speak to an experienced attorney from the Law Firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.

Other Resources - Name Change

Child Custody in a Monmouth County Divorce

The Cost Of Divorce In New Jersey

A Mother’s Rights In New Jersey Divorces

A Father’s Rights In New Jersey

Whether you are from Ocean County, Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, changing your name in the event of a divorce is your right if you choose to exercise it and Villani & DeLuca, P.C. can assist you. Call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at 732-751-4991 for a consultation today.


Vincent DeLuca, Esq.

As a founding partner at Villani & DeLuca, Vincent DeLuca is one of only a few Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey. Mr. DeLuca has helped many clients navigate the delicate details of their own divorce. Mr. DeLuca is also a trained divorce mediator and collaborative divorce attorney. Call today at (732) 751-4991 to speak to Mr. DeLuca or one of our experienced NJ Divorce Lawyers.