Oftentimes during the process of, up and including the final Judgment in a Dissolution of Marriage action, the wife will fail to request that her former name be restored. It does require a Court order for a woman to be restored to her birth name or former name if she acquired her husband’s last name during marriage. This omission, however, is an easy one to rectify.
When a woman wants her former name restored after a Dissolution of Marriage Judgment has been entered, there is a one page Judicial Council Form entitled Exparte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order. There is no filing fee to file this document with the Court and no hearing will be held. Rather, you simply insert the date that your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage was filed and indicate the birth name or former name you wish to be returned to. The Judge approve the request by signing the Application and it will be filed, making it an order of the Court. You will then attach your conformed copy of this document to your conformed copy of the Judgment to prove that your former name has been restored. Certain entities, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration may require a certified copy of this document. You can obtain a certified copy directly from the Court.
Your request to have your birth name or former name cannot be denied for any reason other than fraud. Specifically, Family Code ྷ 2081 states, “The restoration of a former name or birth name requested under Section2080 shall not be denied (a) on the basis that the party has custody of a minor child who bears a different name or (b) for any other reason other than fraud.”
During the Dissolution of Marriage process, a woman is provided with two opportunities to request that her former name be restored. The first opportunity exists by making this request on either the Petition or Response Judicial Council Form, which is the initial document either filed or responded to in a Dissolution of Marriage proceeding. The second opportunity is on the Judgment Judicial Council Form. On each of these forms, the woman’s former name is inserted in the proper place on each form.
If you have filed for a Legal Separation, the option of being restored to your former name does not exist. This is because, although a legal separation will allow such orders as child custody and visitation, child or spousal support and division of property to take place, you are still legally married at the conclusion of a Legal Separation action.
The action of filing the proper document to restore your former name is a simple one that seldom requires retaining the services of an Attorney. However, if you still have any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to contact our office. Attorneys Bawden and Kochis are both Certified Family Law Specialists. They are able to assist you and answer all of your questions if you are seeking either a Legal Separation or Dissolution of Marriage.
If you’d like help with restoring a former name, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. The Law Office of Bawden & Kochis also handles legal issues regarding adoption, annulment, mediation, child custody (with no accompanying domestic violence), child and spousal support as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Telephone (909)792-0222, or email us at [email protected]