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Returning To Your Maiden Name After Divorce

By: David L. Duff, Esquire
For reasons that probably date back to the Dark Ages, women have regularly, following marriage, assumed the surname of their husband. More recently, hyphenating both spouses' surnames has come into vogue; however, this compromise does not fully answer the question: How do I reclaim my maiden name after a divorce?
Virginia has actually streamlined the process, and made it quite easy for a divorced woman to be restored to the use of her maiden name. Most often, this is accomplished merely by requesting such relief as part of the divorce filing. The final divorce order will, as a matter of course, include language that orders that you be allowed to use a former name.
For various reasons, generally associated with the existence of minor children and a desire to avoid potential confusion, a woman may decide after a divorce has been entered, that she wishes to resume the use of her maiden name. In this case, since the divorce option is no longer available for effectuating this desire, Virginia has adopted a procedure for a legal change of name. One need only file with the clerk of the circuit court where you reside, a sworn Petition for Name Change, reciting therein the statutory information required in Virginia Code ยง 8.01-217. An appropriate Order of Name Change is normally filed at the same time as the Petition. There is never any requirement to appear in Court; and, after a few weeks, you will receive a certified copy of the Order restoring you to the use of your desired name. The court will automatically send a copy of this name change order to the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Richmond for processing.
If you desire to change your name, any attorney at The Duff Law Firm would be happy to assist. Call (703) 591-7475 to schedule an appointment.

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