When a couple divorces, on the list of issues to address is whether the Wife will change her last name back to her maiden name or her former name, if she even changed it in the first place.

Changing a name is a very personal decision. Some people are eager to change their name, some are ambivalent and some decide to keep the married name for a variety of reasons.  These reasons include: long time use of the married name, having children with that name and simply preferring the new name.  There is no right or wrong answer.

The statute that describes a bit about how this works is:  http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Statutes/statute.aspx?id=1460

Note that only the Wife can make this name change request.  The statute makes no provision for the Husband making the request, regardless of his feelings about the potential name change.

The name can be changed back to Wife’s maiden name or a former name, if the person was previously married.

The name change will be reflected in the Decree of Divorce, the document that finalizes the divorce.  After the Wife’s name is restored, then the Wife will want to bring that Decree to the social security office, banks, clerk’s office for a new driver’s license, and any other place she wants to notify that she has changed her last name.

From a red tape perspective, it is easiest to change a name as part of a divorce.  However, there are other options.  If a person does not change a name as part of a divorce, that person can go to District Court to seek a name change.   There are a few steps involved in this process, including a trip to court.

Kentucky’s laws about name change have not yet caught up with same-sex marriage (they only refer to a Wife changing her name).  Talk to your attorney about restoring a former name in these circumstances.