Most women change their names when they get married (70-80%). Also, 3% of men change their names when they get married.
Someone who changes their name because of marriage may want to change their name again after a divorce. North Carolina allows for name change after divorce. If you are seeking a name change in Charlotte, North Carolina, our family law attorney can explain what you need to know.
Can You Get a Name Change After Divorce in North Carolina?
Yes. N.C.G.S. § 50-12 allows men and women who have gotten divorced to change their name back to a prior name.
How do you get a name change after a divorce in North Carolina?
If your name change wasn’t included in your divorce decree, you file a petition to apply and give notice of your intent to resume your former name. You state that you want to change your name because of divorce, and you specify which name you want to resume. You sign with the full name you want to use going forward. Submit the completed form and pay the filing fee.
Form for North Carolina Petition for Name Change After Divorce
Where do you file to change your name after divorce?
To change your name after divorce, you may apply to the clerk of court of the county:
- Where you reside
- Where the divorce was settled
There is a $10 fee.
What can you change your name to after divorce?
A divorced woman may change her name to any of the following:
- Her maiden name
- Last name of a former husband, who is deceased
- Last name of a former husband with children who have that surname
What information do you put in a request to change your name after divorce in North Carolina?
When you request to change your name after divorce in North Carolina, you submit a form detailing the following:
- Full name of the former spouse
- Name of county (and state) granting the divorce
- When the divorce was granted
- Your signature – full maiden name or premarriage surname
The clerk of court for each county keeps a record of applications for name changes.
I am a divorced man who changed my name when I got married. Can I change my name back?
Yes. If you are a man who changed your name when you got married, you can change it back to your previous surname if you get divorced. You apply to the clerk of the county where you reside or where the divorce was granted.
I haven’t started my divorce yet. But I already know that I want to change my name. What are my options?
You can incorporate the name change process into your divorce. In the complaint or counterclaim for divorce, you may request the name change. The court may order the name change as part of the divorce decree.
Is there a time limit for how long I have to change my name after I get divorced?
No. If you meet the criteria of having been divorced, you can file to change your surname using the petition form for a name change after divorce.
What if I want my name changed while not involved in a divorce? What if I just want my name changed?
If you want your name changed, and you haven’t gotten divorced, or you want your name changed to something new, you follow a different process than is used following divorce. The applicable law is N.C.G.S. § 101-2.
You’ll petition the court. However, it’s a much more detailed process than petitioning to use a former name because of divorce.
You will need to have your fingerprints taken for a criminal records check. You’ll complete an affidavit regarding outstanding child support and tax obligations. You must have two affidavits of character, your birth certificate, identification, and proof of residency. There is a filing fee.
The purpose of these tasks is to make sure that you’re not changing your name for an improper purpose, like avoiding arrest or a legal claim against you. A notice of your intent to change your name will be posted at the courthouse for ten days.
I want to change the name of my minor child after my divorce. Can I do that?
To change the name of a minor child after divorce, you generally need the consent of both parents if they are living. Follow the steps in N.C.G.S. § 101-2.
You may join a child’s application with an application for a parent. While the consent of both parents is typically required, there are some exceptions. If the child is 16 or older, the custodial parent may file if the other parent has abandoned the minor. If a parent has been convicted of child abuse, assault, or sexual assault against the child or a sibling, the other parent may petition without the consent of the offending parent.
What if I am a widow or widower, and I want to change my name?
N.S.G.S. § 101-8 allows for a widow or widower to change their name because of the death of their spouse. They may apply to the clerk of court in their county of residence. They may resume the use of their maiden name, the name of a prior deceased or divorced husband, or, for a widower, their premarriage surname.
Name Changes and Divorce
If you want to change your name as part of a divorce, the easiest way is to include it in your divorce. However, if you decide after your divorce to change your name, there’s a special form that you can use. The process is simpler than the process for a general name change.
How a Divorce Name Change Attorney Can Help
At Remington & Dixon, PLLC, we help clients solve problems and exercise their legal rights. If you’d like to change your name during, after, or outside of a divorce process, we want to help. Let us answer your questions and explain your rights.
Contact us today for a consultation about your situation and to begin your case.
Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.