This is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure. If your divorce is not yet final, you can obtain a name change simply by asking for it the day you are divorced. The statute in Illinois states that upon request, the court shall order a maiden name or a former name restored. Therefore, even if your husband objected for whatever reason, he could not block the name change. A good judge will ask you about the name change, even if you or your lawyer forget to bring it up at your final hearing.
Although the day you are divorced is usually the time to do this, if you forget to do it or if you’ve simply changed your mind, there is no reason the name change cannot be done at a later date. It is a fairly simple motion to make; your lawyer can do it, or you can probably do it yourself. Another way to do this is through a separate change-of-name petition. This is governed by a separate Illinois statute. It is a simple procedure, and many counties provide preprinted forms to fill out. Your lawyer can do this for you but again, you could probably do it yourself.
Paul L. Feinstein, a Chicago practitioner with over four decades of experience, practices family law with an emphasis on divorce litigation, consulting, and appeals. Paul is often hired by trial lawyers to handle appeals and to assist them with determining legal strategies and preserving a sufficient record at trial. He has belonged to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1991 and the Appellate Lawyers Association since 2010. He can be reached at (312) 346-6392. View his Divorce Magazine profile.