How Can I Resume My Maiden Name or Former Surname Following Divorce?

North Carolina General Statute § 50-12(a) authorizes a woman whose marriage is dissolved by divorce to change her name to any of the following: “(1) Her maiden name; or (2) The surname of a prior deceased husband; or (3) The surname of a prior living husband if she has children who have that husband’s surname.” Section (a1) of that statute provides that any man whose marriage is dissolved by divorce may “change the surname he took upon marriage to his premarriage surname.”

Any person who is eligible to file for divorce in the State of North Carolina may, in their complaint for divorce, or counterclaim filed in response thereto, petition the court to adopt any surname as provided above. At such time as the court enters its judgment of divorce, the court is authorized to incorporate the name change into the divorce decree. If you are represented by an attorney, be sure to tell your attorney that you would like to resume your maiden or prior surname so this relief can be requested in the pleadings for absolute divorce.

If your divorce has already been granted, then you may file a petition for name change with the clerk of court in the county of your residence or the county where your divorce was granted.

The easiest and most cost efficient manner to resume a maiden or former surname is to request the relief in your divorce pleadings since no additional cost or paperwork is required for the court to grant the relief for name change in its divorce decree.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.

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