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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Changing Your and Your Child’s Last Name After a Divorce


After a divorce, you may be eager to return your previous last name. This can be particularly true if you were not married long or if your spouse’s behavior leading to the divorce was egregious. For instance, if your spouse has been convicted of a crime, you may wish to not be associated with that last name. You may also want the same for your children after a divorce. Giving your children your own last name, or if you divorced a step-parent, returning to the other biological parent’s last name may help them move forward and put this difficult time behind them. Changing your or your children’s name can also ensure you have the same last name moving forward, which can help you feel like a family.

Whatever your reasoning, there are ways to change your last name and seek to change your children’s names in court. For help with this process, contact an experienced Leesburg family law attorney today for help. 

Changing Your Last Name

If you know you want to change your last name during the divorce, you can ask that a provision for this be added to the divorce order. You must ask for it though via petition to the Court.  It is not automatic with a divorce. Many individuals choose to keep their married names after divorcing. However, once you ask for it during a divorce and have the order regarding your name change, you can then take this divorce decree to the department of motor vehicles and Social Security office to apply for a new license and Social Security card with your preferred last name.

If you did not decide to change your name until after the divorce was final, it is OK. You can still return to court and seek a name change.

Changing Your Children’s Name

You have the right to petition the court to change you’re your minor children’s last names to your own or their other biological parent’s last name. How you go about this depends on whether their other parent, who may be your ex-spouse, signs the request with you or not. If you and the child’s other legal parent agree to jointly ask for the name change, then you will both sign the petition in the presence of a notary. You may or may not have to go through a formal hearing. It depends on your county’s procedures. During a hearing, a judge will approve or deny the name change based on the child’s best interests. If it appears that you are attempting to change your child’s last name from their fathers to your own because of anger or resentment, then your request may be denied.

If your children’s other parent does not file the request with you, then you will have to serve them the petition. This gives that parent the right to show up in court and agree with or defend against the name change.

Call a Leesburg Family Lawyer for Help

Changing your or your children’s name after a divorce can be cathartic. It can mark the end of a difficult period in life and the beginning of a new, stronger family. However, changing your name means navigating the court system, which can be difficult and intimidating. For help with a name change in Leesburg, contact us at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-777-1795.



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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!