In a divorce, a spouse may desire to resume using a maiden name or a former name. North Carolina divorce law provides a simplified procedure for this. The spouse simply makes a request in their divorce pleading that the divorce decree authorize the name change. If the spouse seeking the name change files the complaint for divorce, the spouse makes the request for a name change in the divorce complaint. If the spouse seeking to change their name is not the spouse filing for divorce, they must file a responsive pleading requesting the name change. A woman may ask the court to change her name to any of the following: (a) her maiden name; or (b) the surname of a prior deceased husband; or (c) the surname of a prior living husband if she has children who have that husband’s surname. A man who changed his surname upon marriage may ask the court to change his name to his pre-marriage surname.
If a spouse did not request a name change in the divorce proceeding, he or she may petition the Clerk of Court for a name change after the divorce is granted. The post-divorce petition must be filed in the county where the divorce was granted or in the county where the person resides.
A filing fee is required when requesting a name change whether in a divorce proceeding, or before the clerk after the divorce is granted.
Only the person whose name will be changed may request a name change. The other spouse may not ask the court to change the name of the other spouse.
As with any other issues arising from your separation or divorce, you should consult with a North Carolina Family Law Specialist. Feel free to contact me, Monty Beck, Western North Carolina Family Law Specialist to discuss your separation or divorce.