In California, either spouse can change their name (or choose not to change their name) when they get married. Either spouse can also ask for restoration of their former name when they get divorced or get an annulment.
If you’d like to restore your former name through your divorce, you can start when you fill out your petition. On the petition, Item 11(b) provides a space for the Petitioner to indicate that they would like their name restored and what it should be restored to. If you’re not the Petitioner, you can make the same request on the Response. The spot to indicate that you’d like your name restored and what you want it restored to is also Item 11(b).
Maybe you haven’t decided yet or you change your mind while the divorce is ongoing. That’s fine! Just because you didn’t ask for it in the petition or response, doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for it during the divorce. If you’re working on a settlement agreement, it can be included in there. If you have a motion to file, you can add the name restoration to your request for order. If you have a hearing date, it may be something you can ask the judge while you are in court. If you aren’t sure when to ask the court about your name restoration, talk to an attorney or the family law self-help center for advice.
Maybe you changed your mind after the judgment came in or you forgot to ask before the judgment came in. That’s fine too! The court has prepared for that and has a form just for you – FL-395. This is the Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order. It’s only one page and doesn’t require a lot of information. All you need to do is fill out the caption with your information (or your attorney will do that), provide the case number (the same one as the rest of your divorce or annulment), give the date your divorce or annulment was final (you can find this on FL-180), and give the name you want restored. Then sign it and file it. You will need to pay the appropriate fee to do so. You don’t need to serve the other side with this form.
Have questions or need help restoring your name? Contact Romanovska Law.