Changing your last name during divorce

Changing a surname during a divorce to a premarital name

Legislation allows spouses, when entering into marriage, to choose a common surname for one of them or for each to leave their own. Most often, women who take a man’s surname when registering a marriage face the question of changing their surname. During a divorce, a wife has the right to leave her husband’s last name or change it to a premarital (maiden) name, while no one has the right to demand that she, including through the court, return her previous last name after a divorce.

Thus, changing your last name during a divorce can only be done voluntarily. It should be taken into account that such a change in personal data is carried out by the civil registry office and entails the need to replace the main significant documents, since after the issuance of a certificate of change of name, the passport becomes invalid.

To change your surname to your maiden name during a divorce, you need to clarify the procedure for dissolving a marriage. If the spouses agree to a divorce and they do not have minor children, then they can immediately contact the registry office and indicate their premarital surname in the application for divorce. If the divorce occurs in court, then you can contact the registry office and change your last name after the court makes a decision on divorce.

You can change your surname to your maiden name some time after a divorce. To do this, you need to contact the registry office with the appropriate application and pay the state fee. At the same time, legally the entire process will no longer be associated with divorce, so it will be carried out in the general manner. 

Family lawyer
Candidate of Legal Sciences
Welcome to the website! In the article “Changing a surname during a divorce,” I will talk about how to change a surname after a divorce to a maiden name, the right to change a surname to a maiden name during a divorce, changing a surname upon divorce, and the state fee for making changes. Read the article to the end and contact our law firm for legal assistance in family matters.

How to change your last name to your maiden name after a divorce

According to the Civil Registration Rules, if one of the spouses changed his last name upon marriage, then in the event of its dissolution he has the right, at his own request:

  • keep this surname after divorce;
  • regain the surname that he had before marriage.

If the change occurs when filing an application for divorce, then the surname can only be changed to a premarital one, and not an arbitrary one.

Thus, during a divorce, a woman has the right, at her discretion, to keep the man’s surname or return it to her maiden name. At the same time, the husband does not have the right to oblige his wife to change her surname. An exceptional case is when a marriage is declared invalid.

If the court establishes that a party knowingly entered into a fictitious marriage, then, by a court decision, all legal events that arose during the marriage are terminated, including the wife being given a premarital surname.

Is it possible to keep my spouse’s last name upon divorce?

As with marriage, the issue of changing a surname during a divorce is decided by each man independently, as indicated in the Family Code of Ukraine. Accordingly, you can leave the man’s last name or change it to a premarital one at your request.

However, the law does not allow in any way to oblige a wife to change her surname to her premarital name in the event of a divorce. Even if a man goes to court, a decision will be made to refuse to accept the claim. The court may oblige you to change your surname if only a positive decision is made in the case of declaring the marriage invalid.

The right to change your surname to your maiden name upon divorce

If during a divorce the spouse decides to change her last name, the procedure will differ depending on how the divorce process occurs:

In the simplest case, you can get a divorce by submitting a joint application to the registry office. However, this method is possible if the spouses do not have common minor children and they both agree to a divorce.

In other cases, it is necessary to go to court. Then it will be necessary to wait until the divorce process is completed, and after the court decision enters into legal force, you can contact the civil registry office.

Most often, it is decided to change the spouse’s surname after the divorce has already been registered and the corresponding certificate has been issued. However, a change of surname after a divorce does not occur due to the dissolution of the marriage. In this case, it is not necessary to change your surname to your premarital one – you can choose any one. 

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Change of surname upon divorce

If the marriage is dissolved by applying to the registry office, then to change the surname the wife needs to indicate her premarital (maiden) surname in the divorce application in the column for assignment of surname. After 30 days, the spouse must contact the registry office to obtain a certificate of divorce, which will indicate the changed surname. Based on this document, the passport and, accordingly, other personal documents will be replaced.

If the divorce process took place in court, then the marriage is considered to officially end from the moment the court decision enters into legal force. From the moment the court decision enters into legal force, you can change all the necessary documents by presenting this decision.

Changing your last name after a divorce through the registry office

If the change of surname occurs after the divorce, it is possible to change it to any chosen one, not necessarily premarital, in accordance with the Civil Registration Rules.

However, the application will need to indicate the reasons for changing the surname – for example, cacophony, difficulty in pronunciation, desire to return the premarital surname. At the same time, if other reasons are indicated, the registry office may consider them disrespectful. In this case, a reasoned decision on refusal must be sent, which can be appealed in court.

To change the surname after a divorce, the ex-wife must contact the registry office at the place of residence or birth registration with an application to change the name and provide the following package of documents:

  • passport;
  • birth certificate;
  • divorce certificate (if available);
  • birth certificates of minor children – because when parents change their name, changes must be made to the child’s birth certificate;
  • receipt of payment of state duty;

Within a month, the registry office will consider the application, after which a certificate of name change will be issued. Based on the document, the applicant’s personal documents must be replaced.

Replacement of passport and personal documents

After changing your last name, the main document to be replaced first is your identity card. According to the current legislation of Ukraine, when changing your first name, surname and other personal data, you must submit an application for a replacement passport.

That is, otherwise the passport becomes invalid. In addition, if you do not submit documents to replace it in a timely manner, administrative liability arises.

The law does not require that if your personal data changes, you must change your passport – it will be valid until the expiration of the specified period of validity. However, this can be done if desired. If you do not change it, then for trips outside of Ukraine it will be enough to present your main passport, which will contain information about previously issued documents.

The taxpayer number is assigned for life, but the certificates themselves should be changed, since they will contain preliminary information about the name. You should also make changes to your work book. In this case, documents on ownership of property and on obtaining education cannot be replaced.

After receiving a new passport, you may need to reissue bank cards. The fact is that when contacting a bank, the client is identified upon presentation of a passport, so in order to be able to use the cards uninterruptedly, it will be necessary to contact the bank and fill out an application to change personal data.

State duty for making changes

The amount of the state duty when changing a surname will depend on the circumstances under which these changes are made:

  • If the surname changes during the divorce process (when filing an application for divorce with the registry office, then only the standard state fee for divorce is paid):
  • If a change of surname occurs over time after a divorce, then a state fee is paid for issuing a certificate of name change. Moreover, if the applicant has a child, then he will also need to pay a state fee for making changes to his birth certificate.

Details for paying the state fee can be obtained upon a direct visit to the civil registry office or on the website of the institution to which you plan to apply. You can pay it through the cash desk of a bank branch, an ATM, or directly at the registry office.

Services of a family lawyer

A family lawyer will provide you with legal advice and help you draw up all the necessary documents to change your last name after a divorce. 

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