Name change upon divorce


Either party may request a name change as part of a divorce proceeding.  Contrary to a common misconception, a party may change his or her name to a name they desire, even if different than a prior name.  In other words, a party is not limited to simply a name restoration.

Whether or not to change your name is a personal question entirely up to you.  There is no right or wrong way to handle whether to change your name during a divorce.  And, your spouse cannot compel you to change your name or prevent you from doing so.

Name changes in divorces are routinely granted (assuming the person is not a felon) so long as the court finds that the party is not requesting the name change with “an intent to defraud or mislead.”  Minn. Stat. § 518.27.

Once you have your decree of dissolution that includes your new name, you will want to be sure a Certificate of Dissolution has also been filed.  Minn. Stat. § 518.148.  This Certificate serves as “short form” evidence of the divorce and name change.  You can purchase as many certified copies as you need from court administration.

Once you have your name change, you will need to spend some time and money actually changing your name on all of your various accounts, documents, etc.  The process varies depending on what you are trying to change and where.

Following is a non-comprehensive checklist of items you will need to address after a name change has been granted:

  • Recommended first: Social Security Administration
  • Recommended second: Driver’s license


In no particular order:

  • Work records
  • Bank and other financial/retirement accounts
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Loans
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Insurance policies
  • Airline accounts
  • Post office
  • Passport
  • Voter registration
  • Utilities
  • Doctors and dentists
  • Resume


Baer Family Law can assist if you have any questions about the process of changing your name as part of a divorce.  Rebecca can also discuss with you the pros and cons of changing your name, some of which you may not have considered.

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Authored by: Rebecca R. Baer, Esq.