When you get divorced, you can choose to change your name as part of the divorce decree. To my knowledge, there’s no requirement that the name you choose be one you were using before (although most people who want to change their name in divorce choose one they were using before the marriage). What happens, though, if you do not change your name in the divorce and later want to change it? The process of changing your legal name in Alabama is not difficult. Here’s how to do it.
If you’re in Jefferson County, you can download the form and instructions. They hide it well, but you can get to it this way. First, go to JeffcoInTouch.com. Click on “Departments and Agencies,” then page down and click on “Probate Court,” then page down to the bottom under “More Information” where it says “Change of Name” and click on the button to its right that says “More Information.” Read the General Information, and then read the section entitled “Would you like to view or print the required forms?” Then you can click on the button to the right to open the PDF file with the forms and instructions.
The fee is $11.00, and you’ll need to take it in cash. No checks or credit cards. The process is usually complete within 2-3 weeks.
If you’re in a county other than Jefferson, you may still be able to find the forms on the Internet; I’m just less familiar with the others. And of course, you can always go to the probate court for your county in person and pick them up.
I think this goes without saying, but it never hurts to clarify. The process I’m describing here will change your legal name. You’ll still need to change it separately on Social Security, DMV, etc.