In general, it’s relatively easy to change your name in Arizona. You can do so as long as it would not affect the rights of another person, such as a creditor. It can easily be done as part of a divorce.
According to Arizona law, you can resume your original, pre-marriage name upon request during a divorce. You will need to request this before the decree of dissolution (divorce) is signed by the court. So, if you are interested in resuming your maiden name (or other pre-marriage name), you should talk to your attorney early in the process.
You can also change your name for other reasons, such as to have the same last name as your children. Or, you can sometimes change your child’s last name to match yours. You can even change your name simply because you don’t like it and would prefer another.
It is important to understand that a new name is not a new identity. You will still have all the same legal rights and obligations, including debts, child support, alimony and the like. All a change of name does for you is allow you to be known by a new name.
Outside of divorce, the process of changing your name requires an application with the Superior Court in your county. There will be an application fee, and you may have to serve other parties, such as your children’s other parent. If you want to change your child’s name, their other parent must generally consent to the name change. There may be a hearing.
Although a name change is generally quite simple, there may be situations where the court is concerned the change would affect the rights of others, such as creditors. It’s a good idea to work with a lawyer who can ensure that the application packet is filled out correctly and that you address any likely objections to the name change.