Another Passport Question

Old Aug 30th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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Another Passport Question

Hopefully someone will have some insight for me. I renewed my passport over a year ago with my married name. I've been divorced seven years, but I didn't change back to my maiden name at that time. This past March, I returned to my maiden name (I was getting debt collection notices for another "Michelle Brown"). When I changed back, there was no court order involved. Per the people at Social Security, I just showed them my birth certificate and divorce decree and viola! All my documents are back in my maiden name except my passport. When I emailed the US State Department, I was told that I either need a court order or must show that I've used my maiden name exclusively for the past five years.
I'm going to Mexico this winter and would like to use my maiden name. I realize I can book my flight as Brown and use my passport as is, but isn't that a catch 22? If I travel using my married name, I can't say I've used my maiden name "exclsively" for five years.
Any suggestions??
truff68 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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I am certainly not a lawyer, but I was under the impression that there needed to be a court order involved in a legal name change - and if done at time of divorce (which you say yours was not) since that is a legal proceeding, then you need a separate legal procedure to change your name. I did not think you could just start using a name, even it is was your birth name, and call it your own.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 05:12 PM
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A friend of mine went back to her maiden name without a court order, as she was advised it wasn't necessary. But that was 15 years ago and things could have changed since then. Also the laws could be different in every state.

I think you need to check with a lawyer, and if necessary, get a court order. I have known other divorced ladies who did get a court order and it's not a difficult process.
P_M is online now  
Old Sep 12th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Send your divorce decree and your new social security card with your maiden name.

Your divorce decree should state somewhere that you've taken back your married name.
Old Sep 12th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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I think she said she did not change her name back to her birth name until 7 years after the divorce - that is the complicating factor. I still think changing ones name requires some sort of legal action - I do not think you can just change it at will - or you end up with all these sorts of problems.
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Old Sep 12th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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You are correct, Gail. There always must be legal approval of any name change. That approval is incorporated within marriage, divorce, adoption, and certain other documents. But if done outside of any of these (as is the case here) the court must legally approve the change.
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