Can a woman change her name back to her maiden name without being legally divorced?

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Can a woman change her name back to her maiden name without being legally divorced?

I have not seen nor heard from this woman in 4 years. I was married 5 years ago and would like to know if I am divorced. I do know in research that she has purchased a house in her maiden name. Does this mean I am more then likely divorced?

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Even though many people know a woman by her married name, many do not go formally change the paperwork on their driver's license or other documents after marriage.  This occassionally creates problems-- because half of her history will be under one name, and half under another.  A woman can also do the hyphen thing, (maiden-married name) without seeking a court order.  So based on these practices, you may or may not be divorced.  Austin maintains a centralized database of records, including birth and marriage records.  They should be able to tell you if a form has been filed reporting your divorce, if any.  If you know what county she lives in, then you may want to go online and see if that county offers online case searches or case lookups.  With a few keystrokes and phone call or two, you will know for sure the status of your marriage.


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