Bringing your marriage to an end could result in a number of changes in your life, from moving into a new home to finding a different job. If you took your spouse’s name when you tied the knot, changing your last name could help you move on from a failed marriage, but it is important to review the steps you must take if you decide to do so.
Unfortunately, you could encounter problems if you fail to report your new name to certain government agencies. Divorce-related stress can make it harder to focus on these matters, but it is critical to promptly report a name change.
Informing federal agencies of a divorce-related name change
USA.gov provides an overview of federal and state government agencies that you might have to report a divorce-related name change. For example, you should inform the Social Security Administration of your new name right away, and your name on your tax return must match SSA records. If you have a passport, reach out to the State Department to get a new passport.
If you have a citizenship or naturalization certificate, update your name with USCIS. Also, you have to inform the Department of Veterans Affairs of a name change if you have veteran benefits.
Informing state agencies of a name change after divorce
Aside from federal agencies, you also have to inform agencies at the state level. If you have a driver’s license or state ID, get in touch with the motor vehicle office. A name change could also necessitate updating your voter registration records, informing the post office, providing your new name to the state’s taxing authority and informing social services if you receive public assistance.
It is vital to stay on top of your responsibilities with respect to a name change and other obligations in the wake of a divorce.