Legally Changing Your Name Following an Illinois Divorce
With the finalization of your divorce, you suddenly realize you are now a newly single individual. Your experienced divorce attorney assisted you through the challenges of continual maintenance support payments, child visitation schedules, child support calculations, and the equitable division of all marital property. However, is it also time to perform one last legal action?
Legally changing your name and reclaiming your independence may be the one legal action remaining on your post divorce bucket list. This decision should not be done in haste, especially if children are involved, but it is a personal decision you may consider.
If you reside in Illinois, Statute 735 ILCS (5/21-101) permits you to petition the court to validate your request for a legal name change. Illinois, as well as many other states, established a preset protocol to discourage individuals from haphazardly requesting a name change for those trying to avoid legal issues or erase a criminal background.
If you have chosen to validate your new found freedom and return to legally using your maiden name, the following information will provide you a better understanding as to what is required under Illinois law.
To begin, you may enlist the assistance of your divorce attorney or complete the process on your own. You can start by identifying the correct Judicial Circuit Court based upon your county residence status. Once this has been established, you can then request the necessary forms from the clerk’s office. Forms may also be obtained online. Once you have obtain the necessary forms, the following will need addressed:
- Complete the petition form in entirety as well as the judgement form and accompanying cover sheet;
- The affidavit section of your petition requires a witness signature and must be a person of non-relative status. This is necessary for identification purposes. This affidavit must be signed in the presence of a notary with the entire document receiving the official notary seal;
- Publication of your request is to be made in a regularly circulated newspaper representative of your resident county. Circulation figures must average 100,000 readers. You may also publish your intent in a respective law bulletin. Circuit court clerks can advise you which publications are acceptable. Which ever direction you choose, the notice must run consecutively for six weeks;
- You are then required to make three copies of all paperwork and then file the documents with your designated Illinois circuit court clerk’s office. At this time, it is suggested that you schedule the court hearing. You will be given your court date, case number, and need to satisfy the fee;
- During your hearing, the judge will review and in all probability issue you a legal name change decision. After receiving the court’s authorization, you will need to certify the document at the appropriate clerk’s office; and
- Lastly, you will need to present your signed order to the Illinois secretary of state Social Security office and any other agency that requires legal notification of your recent name change. Each individual office will require specific documentation to be completed to reflect the change legally approved on the Name Change Order.
Although this process may seem logistically cumbersome, it may be one of the very last items of legally recognizing the dissolution of your marriage. There is no right or wrong decision when it comes deciding on the status of your surname following divorce. It is a personal choice, but it is one that may place you on the path to post divorce recovery a bit ahead of schedule.
Deciding to file for divorce raises many legal questions that require qualified answers. If you are considering divorce, deciding on an experienced Geneva family law attorney may very well be one of the most important. Attorney Douglas B. Warlick, skilled in Illinois family law and serving residents of Kane, Kendall, Dekalb and DuPage counties since 1981, will personally meet with you and answer all of your questions and concerns. Contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today to schedule your initial consultation.