Can I Take Back My Maiden Name in a Divorce in Wisconsin?

Yes!  You can take back your maiden name in a divorce in Wisconsin.  Upon your request, the court can restore you to any former surname.  At the time of the final judgment of divorce, you will be asked if this is your request.  If so, the judgment of divorce will state that you are restored to your former name.  This is completely your choice – your ex-spouse has no input into this decision.

Sometimes, women want to hyphenate their maiden name with their current name.  Some judges will allow this but some will not.  It will really be up to the court in your particular case.

However, please be aware that you have to do all of the work if you change your name.  The judgment will simply award you the use of your former name.  It will be up to you to change your name on everything including your driver’s license, bank accounts, social security, etc.  You will need your actual divorce judgment (Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment of Divorce) to effectuate the change in most cases.

Teri M Nelson

10 thoughts on “Can I Take Back My Maiden Name in a Divorce in Wisconsin?

  1. I was divorced about 10 years ago in Wisconsin and in the divorce papers there is nothing about taking my maiden name back, now I would like to go back to my maiden name what do I all need to do?

    • I’m afraid it is too late to do anything pursuant to the divorce. You can take your maiden name back if you request it on the date of your final divorce. If you don’t, you lose that option. If you want to take it back now, 10 years later, you would have to file a Petition for Name Change just like anyone else who wants to change their name. You can contact the Clerk of Court in your county to find out their procedure.

  2. I was divorced about 1 1/2 years ago and opted to keep my ex husband’s last name at the time of the divorce. I am now getting remarried and I am not planning to take my new spouse’s last name. I am hoping to change my name back to my maiden name as my new married name at our upcoming wedding. Will this be a legal name change in Wisconsin? Or do I have to ammendmy previous divorce?

    • Unfortunately, you get a one shot chance at the time of the divorce to take back your maiden name. If you waive your right to do so, you lose your opportunity. You would have to do an actual name change through the courts if you want to change your name now. With that said, when you complete your marriage certificate, you can try getting away with just having them type in your new name as your maiden name. I’m not sure if that would work but it might be worth a shot. Or, you could try to hyphenate. That might work as well. Good luck!

  3. I have been divorced for a long time and didn’t change my name back to my maiden name at time of divorce. How do i go about doing it now?

    • Your only option now is to file a Petition for Name Change with the court. There is a process for this that is outside of divorce. You should contact the Clerk of Courts office in the county in which you reside and they should be able to give you additional information. Most people do this on their own and do not need an attorney to assist them with this process.

  4. If I want the option to change my name back, but don’t plan on changing it at the time of my divorce, can I choose to have the courts grant me this, but just not change it legally?

    • If you are granted the use of your former name at the time of the divorce, your name is then changed legally. In other words, that becomes your legal name. However, you don’t necessarily have to use that name or transfer things over into that name (such as for your children’s school, bills, etc.) At some point that might catch up to you or there may be problems that arise from that, though, so you need to be careful about that. You should consult with an experienced divorce attorney about how that works and the ramifications of that decision.

  5. I was divorced 13 years ago and the judge granted me the right to use my maiden name. As I had a child I didn’t pursue changing my DL, social security or bills to my maiden name. Now as my child is now an adult I want to go use my maiden name. Based on what I’ve read here I understand that all I need to do is get a copy of the divorce certificate and then pursue changing my DL, social, bills etc, correct?

We welcome your comments or questions. We will do our best to try to respond. However, please be advised that we cannot give legal advice in this forum and all communications are for general informational purposes only. Communication should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. This is an open forum and any information you provide may be posted and will not be held confidentially. By posting a comment or question, you are expressly giving consent for the publication of same. If you have any specific legal issues or concerns, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney in the county and state in which you reside.

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