what-isFor many women, reclaiming their name is a hugely important part of putting your divorce behind you and moving on to the next phase in your life. The problem, however, is that it’s one of those tasks that can be frustratingly difficult to accomplish.

It doesn’t have to be, however. The steps below will peel back the layers of red tape and make it easy to get a handle on.

The first thing you should know is that in some cases, you can get your name changed as part of the final divorce decree. Check your decree to see if it has been included. If not, you may be able to get the court to amend the document to include it.

Some states don’t allow amended divorce decrees, but don’t worry if the state you live in is one of these. It takes a few extra steps, but is still pretty simple.

The first thing you’ll want to do is download Social Security form SS-5. This is the name change request form. Fill it out, and follow the instructions on the form regarding the various documents you’ll need to provide with the completed form.

Take the packet you’ve developed at this point, and head down to your local Social Security Office. They’ll check everything out, and assuming you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your t’s, you’ll get a certificate of name change from the office.

You’ll be able to take this with you to the DMV to get your driver’s license changed.

Once that’s done, you’re all set. Sure, you’ll still have to go through the process of changing bank accounts and updating the records of the various companies you do business with, but armed with your new driver’s license and certificate from the Social Security office, these are mere formalities, and can be accomplished quickly and easily.