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How much is a name worth?

Restoring one's maiden name is a common exercise in a divorce. It can be another step in new life journey or a way to erase a painful and troubling past. Others may want to keep their married name because they don't want to go through the hassle of changing their identity on every piece of information they have. Some may want to keep their surname because their children have it, and that bond shouldn't be broken even though the marriage has been dissolved.

Nevertheless, if you choose to change your name, it is best done within the context of a divorce.

Why is this? Under Florida law, a name change petition outside of a divorce is treated in the same fashion as other such filings. Essentially, those seeking to change their names after a divorce face a $400 fee. Saying that this is sticker shock may be putting it mildly, since it is almost like filing a new lawsuit.

However, there is the option of having a finalized divorce reopened for the purpose of changing one's name. This process is certainly cheaper, $50.00. The judge will decide whether to grant such a request.

The choice of changing one's name can be far down the list of worries during a divorce. It is certainly understandable if a decision can't be made while trying to find a new place to live, decide on parenting time schedules, resolve asset division disputes, and still maintain a job. If you have questions about how (and when) you can change your name, a family law attorney can help.

Source: Orlando Sentinel.com, Name change for Florida divorcees can be costly, February 2, 2013

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