How do I change my last name after divorce?

Step 1: Make sure your Judgment has the correct language

Your proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage needs to contain a provision specifically granting you “leave of court to resume your maiden name of ________.” If the Judgment does not include such a provision, write it into the Judgment before going in front of the judge.

Step 2: Get your Judgment “certified”

In Cook County, Illinois, a Judgment can be certified the same day it was signed by the Judge. Take your copy of the Judgment to the Domestic Relations clerk’s office (in the Daley Center, it is located in room 802).  On the day the Judgment was entered, it will cost $9. If it’s not the same day, the clerk will need to certify the copy of the Judgment that’s in the court file, which will cost you a few dollars more to have the clerk make copies.

Step 3: Update your Social Security card

You will need to go in person to a Social Security office. In downtown Chicago, they are located at 77 West Jackson Street. You need each of the following:

  • the certified judgment;
  • a driver’s license or state ID;
  • proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a passport or birth certificate); and
  • an application for a new social security card.

For more information on the procedure, read the Social Security website:

Step 4: Update your driver’s license or state ID card

You do not need a newly issued driver’s license or state ID card, you simply need a corrected license or state ID. You can go to any Secretary of State facility that issues licenses and state ID cards. Bring the Judgment and each of the required documentation noted here:

Step 5: Update any additional accounts and IDs

With your certified Judgment, your new Social Security card and driver’s license or state ID card, you will be able to update your name on any other accounts (i.e. bank accounts or credit cards) or identifying documents. You will need to contact each institution separately for their procedures and required documentation.