How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in Illinois

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain how to change your name after a divorce in Illinois.  Illinois provides for a simplified name-change process if one of the parties wants to revert to the name he or she used prior to the marriage.  

How to Change Your Name After Divorce if You Don’t Want to Use Your Maiden Name

Generally, if you want to change your name in Illinois, you must file a request for a name change with the clerk of court, along with accompanying forms.  This initiates a hearing during which the judge will either grant or deny your request.  Divorcees need only follow this process if they seek to change their name to something other than the name used prior to marriage.  To learn more about this process, check out our article: How to Legally Change Your Name in Illinois.

How to Go Back to Using Your Maiden Name After Divorce

If you simply want to revert back to the name you used prior to your marriage (e.g. your maiden name), the judge can order this name change as part of your divorce decree.  You should check with your attorney that this is included in the final court order dissolving your marriage.  

If your divorce decree includes language changing your name, you do not have to make any separate court filings.  However, you will still be required to update your information on public records.  Your divorce order will serve as the operative document that public agencies require in order to effectuate the change.  

Where Do I Need to Update My Name After a Divorce?

If you are changing your name in connection with a divorce, you should update the following:

  • Your social security card;
  • Your driver’s license;
  • Your bank accounts;
  • Your credit cards; and
  • Utilities.

You should start with your social security card, then update your driver’s license.  You can use these two updated documents to update your bank accounts, credit cards, and utilities.  

How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card After a Divorce

The first step you should take to update your name on public records after a divorce is to change the name on your social security card.  In order to do so, bring the following to a Social Security Administration Office:

  • Your divorce decree;
  • Social Security Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card;
  • A government-issued photo ID; and
  • Proof of citizenship (birth certificate or citizenship certificate).

The process can be completed by mail as well if you send in a certified copy of your proof of citizenship.

How to Change Your Name on Your Driver’s License After a Divorce

In order to update your name on your driver’s license after divorce, you can simply bring your current driver’s license and a certified copy of your divorce decree to the DMV.  Be prepared to pay a small fee.

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