If your first name is misspelled all throughout your divorce papers are they still legal?

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If your first name is misspelled all throughout your divorce papers are they still legal?

My friend got divorced 7 years ago she just now has realized her first name is misspelled all threw her divorce papers. Her name is Sondra and they have Sandra. Is she legally divorced since that is not her name? Also, her last name was not changed during the divorce but for the past seven years she has gone by her maiden name. So is her legal name still her married name or is it her maiden name?

Asked on October 27, 2010 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) A typo, mispelling, clerical error, etc. will not affect the validity of a divorce or, for that matter, any court order, contract, or agreement. If there was some reason to believe that the divorce was not issued to her--e.g. that these papers pertain to an entirely different person--that would be different; but as long as it's clear from all the context (e.g. last name, address, etc.) that this is the right woman, a misspelling of her first name as no effect at all.

2) Legally, if she changed her maiden name to her married name then did not change it back, the married name is still her legal name. She can informally use her maiden name, but the married name should be used for official paperwork, like taxes, etc.  If she never actually legally changed her name when married, then her maiden name has always been her legal name.


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