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What to remember with post-divorce name changes

There are lots of hoops to jump through when you get married, including lots of paperwork. Many women (and some men) decide to take on their spouse's name. As anyone who has sat in a crowded Social Security office knows, it's not always an easy process. And the same is true when someone decides to change their name after a divorce.

If a woman decides to go back to using her maiden name, for example, she will need to notify both the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. And, of course, she will need to make the dreaded trip to the DMV to mark the change on her driver's license.

In making the change with the SSA, you'll need to fill out paperwork and provide documentation that proves your identity, and you must also provide a reason for the change. In addition, the SSA will only accept an original or certified copy of the divorce decree. For those who don't have that document lying around, they can request it from the state or county recorder where the divorce became final. This can all be done in person at an SSA office, or through the mail. In either case you will get the original copies back.

As for the IRS, whether you change your name or not, you will need to be sure to file tax returns correctly following a divorce. A person's marital status on the last day of the year determines how they will file. So, a person who is officially divorced at the end of 2012 should file their taxes accordingly.

Source: Forbes, "Marriage or divorce can be a name changer," Kelly Phillips Erb, Aug. 1, 2012

• Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Denver divorce page.

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