One question almost every divorce attorney has received from their female client is, “When I can go back to using my maiden name?” Well, the answer is, once the final judgment or decree in your divorce case is entered. Under the law, it is mandatory that a final judgment or decree contain a provision that “each party may resume the use of his or her premarriage surname or any other former surname.” However, it is important to note that this provision only applies to New York divorce decrees. In other words, if you have an out-of-state divorce decree, you cannot get a New York court to add this decretal paragraph.

In a 1979 case out of Orange County, the court was faced with exactly this issue. The petitioner sought to amend a Santo Domingo divorce decree to provide an additional decretal paragraph authorizing her to resume the use of her maiden name. However, the court denied her application finding that the Legislature only intended DRL § 240-a to apply to New York divorce decrees.

So what does this all mean? Basically, if you are getting a divorce in New York, you will have the ability (but you are not obligated) to revert back to using your maiden name once the court enters the final judgment or decree.

Jaspan Schlesinger is committed to helping our clients make their way through this very trying time. Our offices are open and we are monitoring the courthouse operations and are available via email, phone, or video-conferencing to answer your questions and concerns. The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. Readers of this article should seek specific legal advice from legal counsel of their choice. In the event that you need legal assistance regarding matrimonial and/or family law matters, please contact Samantha Guido at or (516) 393-8250