How To Get Your Maiden Name Back After a Divorce

This article was produced by LARCC in cooperation with CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

How To Get Your Maiden Name Back After a Divorce

If you got divorced in Connecticut, you can ask the court to have your birth name or a prior married name restored to you. Read this guide to find out how to get back a name you used before your marriage. 

Steps 1 through 3

Steps 4 and 5

Steps 6 through 8

Step 1: Get a copy of your divorce judgment or decree if you don’t already have it. You can get a copy from the clerk's office at the courthouse where you were divorced.

Step 2: Fill out an Appearance (JD-CL-12) form and file it at the court clerk's office. This form tells the court that you are representing yourself. Filing it lets the court know how to contact you about your case. You can get this from the clerk’s office or at http://www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/forms/cl012.pdf. Ask the clerk if you need help filling it out.

Step 3: Fill out a Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174). You can get this from the clerk’s office or at http://www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/forms/fm174.pdf. Ask the clerk if you need help filling it out. To fill out the Modification (JD-FM-174) form, you need the following information from your divorce judgment:

  • the docket number of your divorce (in the upper left corner)
  • the Judicial District where you were divorced (right of the heading) and whether you were the plaintiff or defendant
  • the date of your divorce hearing (right side of heading)

Do not fill out the "Order" section on the back of the form; the court will do it.

You may need to fill out the "certification" section, see STEP 5.

There is a $125 fee for the Modification (JD-FM-174). There is also a $40-$60 marshal fee if you have to have the Modification (JD-FM-174) "served" (given) to your ex-husband. You can ask the court to waive these fees if you can’t afford them. The clerk can tell you how to fill out an Application for Fee Waiver or you can get the form at http://www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/forms/fm075.pdf. See Legal Aid’s Guide to Fee Waivers.

Step 4: Make copies of the completed Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174). Give two copies to the court clerk. Keep one copy for yourself. You may need one copy to serve on your ex-husband or his attorney. Different courts have different rules about this. Check with the court clerk and see Step 5 of this guide.

Step 5: Ask the court clerk if you need to give a copy of the Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174) to your ex-husband or his attorney. Different courts have different rules. Check with the clerk or court services center about the rules for that court.

  • Some courts require you to have the Modification (JD-FM-174) “served” on your ex-husband or his attorney. Only a marshal can serve papers.
  • The clerk can give you a list of marshals.
  • After the marshal serves the Modification (JD-FM-174), he will give you a Return of Service.
  • You must give the Return of Service to the clerk. See Step 6. You can ask the court to waive the marshal fee if you can’t afford it.

Step 6: Make sure the court clerk has the following forms:

  • the Appearance (JD-CL-12) form
  • the Motion for Modification (JD-FM-174) form
  • the Return of Service if applicable

Step 7: Receive notice of your court date and mark your case ready. You should receive a list of court cases scheduled for a specific date and time in the mail. This is called the court calendar. This calendar tells you the date and time that the judge will hear your case.

  • Read the instructions in the top left hand corner of the calendar to “mark your case ready.” You won’t have a hearing until your case is marked “ready.”
  • Note the date and time of your hearing.

Step 8: Go to the court hearing. Be in court on the day and time set for the hearing. It is a good idea to arrive about 15 minutes early. If you’re late, the judge may not hear your case.

Ask the court clerk about the way the court starts the day, or “opens.” Some courts open with a "calendar call" where the names of the cases are read out loud in the courtroom. Other courts do not call the cases.

  • If the court has a "calendar call," say “ready” when your case is called. The judge will come back to your case after calling the other cases. You will then ask the judge to restore your prior name.
  • If the court does not have a "calendar call,” find your name and room assignment on the list posted in the lobby. Go to that room and follow the judge's instructions.

This booklet was produced by the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut in cooperation with Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, New Haven

Legal Assistance Association, and Statewide Legal Services. The information in this booklet is based on laws in Connecticut as of 4/2011. We hope that the information is helpful. It is not intended as legal advice for an individual  situation. Please call Statewide Legal Services or contact an attorney for additional help.

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

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