Florida women currently going through divorce proceedings have the option to regain their maiden name for free while their case file is still open. However, often times women overwhelmed by the myriad of decisions that come with the end of marriage will simply put their name change on the back burner.
The result of putting off this important final step is a $400 bill. This is because Florida law, where the filing fee is determined, does not differentiate between a name being restored after a divorce and a completely new name. If a woman wants to restore her maiden name without paying the $400 they can also petition the court to reopen their divorce cases-which costs $50. However, it is up to a judge to decide whether to recognize the petition or not.
The decision to restore your maiden name is a big one and Orlando attorney Mayanne Downs advises that divorce proceedings are the most efficient time to do this but if clients aren’t ready to make that decision they shouldn’t have to.
Many women don’t change their name during a divorce because they want to have the same last name as their children. Alternatively, some women have built a career or business using their married name and changing back to their maiden name might be a hindrance professionally.
Divorced women have the right to restore their maiden names and ex-spouses can’t force them to change their name – or to keep their married name.
Downs said the hassle and expense to restore a maiden name months or years after a divorce pale in comparison to making a decision under distress that you later regret.