Can I get served with court papers if my last name has changed?

UPDATED: Jan 26, 2011

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Can I get served with court papers if my last name has changed?

My ex-mother-in-law is trying to take me to small claims court, but her son and I are divorced and I have gone back to my maiden name. Can she still serve me when the last name is different on the court papers?

Asked on January 26, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

This is one of those "technicality" issues that people dwell on.  Although you are not now known by your ex spouse's surname you were once known by it and there is a reasonable expectation that some may not know that you have gone back to your maiden name.  "Legally" now you are not using that name but you were once known by that name and I think that a court would allow an amendment to the pleadings if the case was before the court on the basis of equity.  A simple affidavit or questioning under oath to shoe that you are one in the same person would be enough to have the service and suit be held as valid.  But check with an attorney in your area.  maybe California thinks differently on the subject.

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