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Practical tips for a name change after a divorce

For many New York spouses, changing their name after the end of a marriage is a deeply rewarding experience. For some, the name change signifies the beginning of a new phase of life. Others look forward to eliminating such a daily reminder of a link to a family that is no longer theirs. Regardless of the motivation behind a post-divorce name change, the process involved in completing that task has numerous steps. 

The first place to begin is with government-issued identification. While few people look forward to a trip to the DMV, that is probably the best place to begin. Be sure to check the DMV website to make sure that the proper documentation is in hand, and consider visiting during non-peak hours. The Social Security office should also be one of the first stops. 

Next, tackle financial accounts. Most banks require an in-person visit to process a name change, and will want to see documentation backing up the request. Be sure that all accounts are covered, even those that are infrequently used. Don't forget about insurance policies, and take this opportunity to ensure that all listed beneficiaries are up-to-date. 

Finally, create a list of minor accounts and begin the process of changing the name on each. These include travel loyalty programs, store reward cards, gym memberships and the like. Each of these places may have their own rules regarding a name change, but the same documentation will likely be requested. 

Changing one's name after a divorce does require a number of steps. However, many New York spouses feel that the investment of time and energy is well worth the result. Being able to change one's name is akin to reclaiming an identity as a single person, which is an important part of moving forward for many people.  

Source: reuters.com, "Your Money: Cost of a name change after divorce? Priceless", Beth Pinsker, March 26, 2018

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