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BeccaBoo's avatar

Is it illegal to return and use your maiden name after you divorce?

Asked by BeccaBoo (2725points) February 13th, 2012

Ok, I am in the UK and been divorced for 3yrs nearly.

Every document that I have, my passport, drivers licence, bank accounts etc are all back in my maiden name. Nobody asked for any ‘change of name’ documents just my divorce certificate.

Then last week my ex husbands solicitor’s wrote to me regarding the change of deed to the property we own. Since my ex is taking it on in his sole name and could i sign the appropriate paperwork.
I did this, in front of witnesses and had them sign it too.

However, because I signed it in my maiden name, and not the name they had on their paperwork (all addressed to my married name, and my ex knew I don’t use that name anymore and haven’t for a few years now) they are asking me to produce the paperwork to prove that my maiden name is changed.

Here is the thing, this is the same company that handled his side of the divorce and they will have copies of the decrees and court papers.

Am I in trouble for going back to my maiden name? Should I have done it by deed pole?

Am really worried as I have to produce these documents and I am worried I am breaking the law by being me?

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17 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. You can change your last name to anything in the world you want to.

YoBob's avatar

Don’t know about the UK, but in the US it’s pretty common.

My sister, for example, was quite excited about going back to her maiden name after divorcing that moron of a first husband of hers.

WestRiverrat's avatar

You may have to jump through a number of legal hoops, but it should be possible to change your name back. A divorce attorney should be able to help you with the name change.

BeccaBoo's avatar

I was really happy going back to my maiden name, until this bombshell!!

Aethelflaed's avatar

Try here, at the Deed Poll website. I think you’re fine.

janbb's avatar

In NJ apparently it is asked as part of the divorce proceedings. You will have to look at the laws in the UK.

downtide's avatar

You can change it back to whatever you like but some organisations require a deed poll. Which you can print off online and do for free, although you might want to pay a small fee to get a solicitor to notarise it. Whether you do or not, is not against the law – all that is legally required to change your name is that you simply use it, but some organisations such as banks and in particular the passport office, won’t accept a change of name without a deed poll.

(I am in the UK too and I changed my name legally back to my pre-married name 2 years ago, though for different reasons.).

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t worry, even if you did not follow perfect procedure, you did not intend to deceive anyone, the law understands this. Just do whatever you need to do to make it all legal now. Don’t freak out. Your maiden and married name are both your names, they are AKA’s.

Blackberry's avatar

Of course not. People change their names without divorce.

marinelife's avatar

“When a marriage comes to an end, many women wish to revert to their original name or at least alter their current name in some way. If, upon marriage a woman simply adopted her husbands surname she can use her decree absolute to revert to her maiden name. However, if any other name change was carried out a Deed Poll will be necessary.

If a woman decides to revert to her maiden name prior to her divorce being finalised and before receiving her decree absolute she has every right to do so. Many women are under the false impression that when they begin divorce proceedings, they must use their husband’s name (if they have taken it upon marriage) until the divorce has been finalised. This is not the case.

The only thing that needs to be done is to notify the other party of the name change, so that subsequent documentation regarding the divorce can be in the new name.”

UK Deed Poll

CWOTUS's avatar

You could change your name to Abraham Lincoln, if you like, or Mary Todd Lincoln (or just Mary Todd, if you prefer) as long as you don’t do that with an intent to defraud anyone.

As far as your deed, if the conveyance isn’t for your benefit, then I’d ask them to produce paperwork to suit you, not the other way ‘round.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Not in the USA. I can’t imagine it being illegal in the UK. It is the name you were born with.

cazzie's avatar

Absolutely not illegal. It looks as though the ‘decree absolute’ is your document of proof for your change of name in the UK. I had a change of name paper filled out when I registered as a resident of Norway, without even knowing it and that is my source document for when I wanted to change the name on my passport.

Sounds like you are being dicked around. Send them a copy of the ‘decree absolute’ (that they should already have) and tell them to change the name on their documents, as it was THEIR error, not yours.

If it had been me and saw the wrong name written on the documents, I would have sent them all back, corrected in red ink instead of signing them. Their mistake, not yours.

BeccaBoo's avatar

Thanks folks. I will contact them and make sure they correct their mistake, even though they have all the paperwork they need. Just a little unsure as they are a solicitors firm and know what they are talking about, and I clearly don’t ;-)

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t know. My mum didn’t, she kept my dad’s name after the divorce so that she would have the same name as my brother and I until she got married again, by which point we were adults so she wasn’t so wprried about having the same name as us.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

While going through my divorce, my lawyer said I could take any last name I have ever legally had. He does have to put it in the divorce papers, though. Otherwise, you can change your name to anything you want, whenever you want, by doing the legal paperwork for a name change.

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