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

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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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


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

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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