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William Shakespeare said, " What's in a name?" In a divorce the answer may be, "Make sure your divorce papers include your right to get your old name back."
In Illinois, if you are a woman you can resume your maiden or former name by you or your divorce lawyer requesting your change of name before the end of the case. This is done by including your old name in the final divorce papers called a "Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage" in Illinois. The judgment is signed and entered by the divorce judge in your divorce case. The judge has no choice and must allow you to take back your old name if it is your maiden or former name.
Then you or your divorce lawyer can obtain a certified copy of your "Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage" from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County in Illinois where you are divorced. This certified copy can then be used by you to change your name on other official records.
To change your name on your Illinois drivers license or Illinois State ID card, go to the Secretary of State of Illinois drivers license office with that certified copy of your Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage, and your old license or ID. There you can get a new license or ID, in your "maiden or former" name.
Then contact the Social Security administration. Fill out Form SS-5 called an "Application for a Social Security Card," and show them a photo id and your certified copy of your Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage which they will be return to you.
If you did not include your change of name in your Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage, all is not lost. If your Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage does not change your name and you were divorced within the last two years you can try to file a "Motion to Amend" your judgment to include your name change.
The final option to change your name is to file a "Petition for Name Change," which is a new case filed in court, you have to pay a new filing fee, go through a publication in a newspaper and a judge will sign an order approving your change of name. This is however a more expensive process than simply including the change of name in your Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage.
If you have questions about your name change or divorce proceedings in general, contact a knowledgeable Hinsdale family law attorney.