Going through a divorce is a challenging journey, both emotionally and legally. Amidst the various aspects to consider, seeking a name change after divorce is often a significant consideration.

Whether it’s a return to a maiden name or choosing an entirely new identity, the process involves legal steps and considerations that demand attention.

Let’s discuss essential aspects of name changes after divorce, offering insights tailored for individuals in Missouri.

The Importance of a Name Change After Divorce

A name is an integral part of one’s identity, and for many individuals, reverting to a maiden name or adopting a new one signifies a fresh start after divorce.

Beyond the emotional significance, there are practical reasons for changing a name post-divorce, including:

  • Establishing consistency across legal documents and identification.
  • Simplifying administrative processes such as banking, licensing, and insurance.
  • Moving forward with a renewed sense of identity and autonomy.

How to Change Your Name in Missouri

In Missouri, either spouse in a divorce may ask to change their name.  The request is usually made in writing within the divorce petition.  The spouse or their attorney may also request a name change during the hearing.  When both sides agree, most judges will grant a name change after the hearing if requested in writing, even if no one requested it beforehand.  

For Individuals who wait until after the divorce is over to request a name change, the process is time consuming and expensive.  The individual seeking a name change after divorce must navigate specific legal procedures outlined by state laws. If you don’t know where to start, key considerations include:

  • Petition for Name Change: The process typically begins with filing a petition for a name change in the county circuit court where you reside. This petition should include your current name, desired new name, reason for the change, and any relevant details regarding the divorce decree.
  • Publication Requirement: Missouri law requires a notice of the name change petition to be published in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. This serves to provide public notice and allows interested parties to object to the name change if deemed necessary.
  • Court Hearing: Following the publication period, a court hearing is scheduled where a judge will review the petition and any objections raised. If the judge approves the name change, a court order will be issued.
  • Updating Legal Documents: Once the court order for name change is obtained, it’s essential to update various legal documents, including driver’s license, social security card, passport, and any other relevant records.

Additional Considerations to Changing Your Name

In addition to legal considerations, there are other things to keep in mind when debating a name change.

  • Children’s Names: If you have children from the marriage, consider whether their names should also be changed. This decision typically requires agreement between both parents or a court order if there’s a dispute. Courts will base a decision to change a child’s name based upon the risk of confusion for the child if changed, or the existence of serious child abuse or neglect.
  • Professional Licenses and Certifications: Individuals with professional licenses or certifications must ensure that their new name is reflected in these documents to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Creditors and Financial Institutions: Notify creditors, banks, and financial institutions of your name change to avoid any disruptions in financial transactions or credit reporting.

Digital Presence: Update your name on social media accounts, email addresses, and other online platforms to reflect your new identity consistently.

Navigating the Emotions Involved in a Name Change

While the legal process of changing your name after divorce may seem straightforward, it’s essential to acknowledge the emotional impact of this decision. For many individuals, their name carries significant personal history and symbolism, and changing it can evoke a range of emotions, including:


  • Loss: Even if the name change is a conscious decision, it may still signify the loss of a previous identity, relationship, or family
  • Empowerment: On the other hand, changing your name can also symbolize empowerment and autonomy, allowing you to assert your individuality and move forward on your own terms.
  • Confusion: It’s normal to feel confused or uncertain about the decision to change your name, especially if you’re unsure of what name to choose or how it will impact your identity.

Seeking Support

Navigating the complexities of divorce and name changes can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or professional advisors can help you navigate this transition with confidence and clarity.

Additionally, working with an experienced family law attorney like Bruce Galloway can provide valuable guidance and advocacy throughout the name change process.

Final Thoughts

Changing your name after divorce is a significant step toward reclaiming your identity and moving forward with confidence. However, navigating the legal process can be complex, requiring attention to detail and adherence to state-specific requirements.

At Bruce Galloway Law, we understand the intricacies of name changes after divorce in Missouri and are here to provide expert guidance and support throughout the process.

If you’re considering a name change after divorce or need assistance with any family law matters, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bruce Galloway Law. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping clients achieve favorable outcomes while navigating challenging legal situations with compassion and expertise.

 Contact us today to schedule a consultation and explore your options with confidence.