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How to Change Your Name in Illinois

For most couples, divorce is a bittersweet process. It can be a time of immense change.

However, one of the most personal transformations occurs when spouses change their last names, and the former wife reclaims her maiden name. For both men and women, these changes often bring a sense of finality and closure to the divorce procedures.

There are several important documents containing your name that should be changed after a divorce judgment. These documents include your Illinois driver's license, Social Security card, auto registration and U.S. passport.

If you find you have questions about the name changing process and how it can be accomplished easily, efficiently, and accurately, the following questions and answers should help.

Q. How do I change back to my maiden name after a divorce?

A. Under Illinois law, you can return to your maiden name after a divorce if:

1. You requested your maiden name in your divorce petition; and

2. This was granted to you in your divorce judgment.

Most agencies, like the Illinois Secretary of State, will need a certified copy of your divorce judgment to change your name.

In order to get a certified copy, contact the Cook County Circuit Court or the Circuit Clerk of the courthouse where the divorce judgment was filed. There will be a charge for the certified copy.

Q. How do I change the name on my Social Security Card?

A. To change the name attached to your Social Security number, you must go to the nearest Social Security office and fill out an SS 5 application.

You must bring a piece of identification, such as your old Social Security card or birth certificate, and a certified copy of your Order for Change of Name with you.

Q. What about the IRS?

A. Fortunately, once you change your name with the Social Security Administration, it only takes 10 days for the IRS to be notified. There is no additional paperwork for this change.

Q. How do I change my name on my driver's license or car registration?

A. In order to change the name on your Illinois driver's license and car registration, you will need to go to an Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles office.

To change a name on a registration:

You must change the name on the car's title first. An application for corrected title must be completed and submitted along with the original title, a fee of $65, and proper documentation. Proper documentation includes a copy of your marriage certificate, a driver's license (with corrected name) or other court document.

By mail. Make your check payable to the Illinois Secretary of State. You should include the corrected title and documentation, sign your name on the bottom portion of your renewal notice, and mail it in. You must allow 30 days for delivery of your renewal sticker.

In person. Visit your nearest Secretary of State facility. Bring your renewal notice, documentation proving your changes, and payment.

To change a name on driver's license:

Within 10 days of changing your name or address, you are required by law to notify the Secretary of State of the change.

You may submit a change of address form online located at http://www.ilsos.gov/addrchange.

You may also visit the Cook County or local driver services facility, or write the Driver Services Department, Attention: Address Change, 2701 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, IL 62723-0001.

If you change your name, you must obtain a corrected driver's license, corrected title, and corrected registration ID card before the Secretary of State records can be changed.

A corrected driver's license must be obtained at a driver services facility. You will be required to show identification with your new name, as well as identification that links your old and new names.

Vehicle registration forms may also be completed at the driver services facility, or you can choose to have these forms mailed to you.

Q. How can I change the name on my U.S. Passport?

A. If you have had your valid passport for over one year, use the DS-82 Form at https://pptform.state.gov/FraudAbuseNotice.aspx?form=DS82

If your valid passport was issued within the past year use the DS-5504 Form at https://pptform.state.gov/FraudAbuseNotice.aspx?form=DS5504

If you do not have a valid passport; your passport was lost, stolen or damaged; it has expired; or you don't have proof of legal name change, use the DS-11 Form at https://pptform.state.gov/FraudAbuseNotice.aspx?form=DS11 which needs to be submitted in person.

Complete the appropriate form, print and mail it to the U.S. Passport Agency or take it to a local passport office. To find a local passport office, visit http://www.iafdb.travel.state.gov. Include with your form the proper fee, proof of legal name change, your old valid passport, and two passport photos.

Q. What about Voter Registration?

A. If you are a registered Illinois voter, visit http://www.eac.gov/files/voter/nvra_update.pdf and fill out the National Mail Voter Registration Form at least 28 days before an election. Use your new name in Box 1. On the second half of the form, Box A, indicate what your full name was before you changed it. Mail the form to State Board of Elections 1020 S. Spring Street Springfield, IL 62704 or bring personally to your local voter registration office.

Q. Can I change the names of my children?

A. No. Only you can take back a maiden name or former name. You cannot change a child's name through a divorce action. You can only change your children's names through a separate legal action.

Q. What other changes should I make?

A. Once your name has been changed, there are numerous documents that will require correction, and several companies that should be notified immediately:

  • Banks & Credit Card Companies
  • Loans (Mortgage, home, school, car)
  • Investment firms, brokers, fund managers
  • Retirement Plans & Accounts
  • Insurance Companies (Health, life, property, auto)
  • Doctors, Physicians, & Other Health Providers
  • Professional Service Providers (Attorney, accountants)
  • Utility Providers (Gas, electric, water, phone)
  • Professional Organizations & Associations
  • Memberships (AAA, Diner's Club, magazines, etc.)
  • Clients, colleagues, friends, & family
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.