Resuming Your Maiden Name After Divorce

When you get divorced in New Jersey, you can choose to either keep your married last name, or resume your maiden last name. This is an entirely personal decision, and no one can force someone to either resume their name or keep their married name. This request should be made in a party's initial pleadings, however can be amended at any time, to make this request.

If a party chooses to resume their maiden name, the Court will confirm the reason for the name change request. This is done at the time of the final hearing, which often is an uncontested hearing, at which time the Judgment of Divorce is entered. A party can choose to change their name after divorce for any reason, usually a personal reason, provided that reason is not to avoid criminal prosecution or avoid creditors.

It should be noted that just because a litigant is resuming their maiden last name or changing their last name, it does not give permission to change a child's last name. This is a separate procedure that follows different legal requirements.

After the name change has been granted, government offices and banks and any other organizations you maintain contact with should be informed of the name change, as once the Order is entered, that is a party's new legal name.

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