What’s in a Name? Volume 2

In the 2017 legislative session, the Maryland Generally Assembly passed into law an update to existing law on restoration to a former name in a divorce. HB793: Family Law – Divorce – Restoration of Former Name (to view the bill: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2017RS/bills/hb/hb0793T.pdf) revises Family Law Article §7-105, to allow a party to request restoration of a former name up to 18 months after the Judgment of Absolute Divorce/divorce decree is granted, without requiring the formal name change process of Maryland Rule 15-901.

Currently, a spouse who took on the other party’s name during the marriage may be restored to any former name if the party no longer wishes to use the name, the name change is requested in the divorce, and the request is not for any illegal, fraudulent, or immoral purpose. Under existing law, this request must be made and granted at the time of the divorce and entry of the Judgment of Absolute divorce; not after.

HB793 extends the time to 18 months from the date of the divorce. Under current and the new law, the request must be made by the party seeking the name change for her- or himself. So, one spouse may not request a name change for the other. The remaining requirements of §7-105 will still apply.

This change in the law goes into effect October 1, 2017.

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