Is it against the law for someone to continue using their married name when they have been ordered by the divorce decree to change it?

My husband’s ex-wife and I have the same first and last name. She was ordered by the divorce decree to change her last name back to her maiden name, which she has failed to do despite promising she would do so. This has caused problems for me with her receiving my mail and her info showing up in my credit file. I have spent many hours trying to fix this problem but am at a loss of what to do.

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Family Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You say that there is an actual legal order--the divorce decree--ordering your husband's ex-wife to change her name and go back to using her maiden name? If there is, a party to the divorce decree--your husband--may well have grounds to bring a legal action to enforce the decree and make the ex-wife change her name.

Note I believe that it would have to be your husband, as party to the decree, and not you directly who would have grounds to enforce this order. (You were not involved in the divorce and had no legal standing vis-a-vis it.) You and your husband should consult with a divorce or family attorney to see what your rights and remedies might be. Good luck.

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