Can I change my last name in a divorce?

Minnesota law allows a person to change his or her last name in a divorce, but changing a last name is a very personal choice and is a sensitive issue.  One spouse cannot force the other to change their last name.  Often a mom struggles with changing her last name having it be different from her children.  Clients often go back and forth on this issue which is understandable.  Our names – first and last – are our identity.

One realistic issue for a person to think about is the time and expense that comes with a name change.  This is a partial list of some of the agencies and businesses a person who has changed their name in a divorce needs contacts:

  • Driver’s license bureau (a license must be changed within 30 days)
  • Social Security Administration
  • Secretary of State to change voting record
  • IRS and Minnesota Department of Revenue
  • Insurance companies, retirement plans and pension plans
  • Payroll and human resources at work
  • County financial worker, if public assistance
  • Department of Motor Vehicles to change car titles
  • Banks
  • The attorney who drafted a will or trust
  • Credit card companies
  • College or university to update records
  • If you are a male of draft age, the registration office
  • The military branch where serving
  • Doctor, dentist, pharmacy and other health providers
  • United States Post Office for a change of address
  • US Department of State to change passport

For some the time and expense to change a name in a divorce is not worth it.

Lastly, a person wanting a name change who has been convicted of a felony cannot do a name change without going through some specific steps.

For further information about divorce, please contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle to schedule a consultation by calling (218) 722-2655.