Legal Question in Family Law in Rhode Island

I have been living and married in Austria for 25 years. My husband and two children changed their family name (all Austrian citizens). As my husband's family name has been changed we understood that the US government would automatically allow me to change my name as well. No - this is not the case! I have to either:

1- return to the USA to reside

2- give up my US citizenship to get Austrian citizenship

3 - divorce and remarry

4 - use my name on a signed painting and other such endeavors to use another name for 5 years

I am neither under the jurisdiction of Austria, nor of the USA

The US Consulate states that I have to have a court order from the usa to be able to change that which I am not allowed unless I am officially residing in the USA


Asked on 9/16/13, 11:03 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Christopher Pearsall Law Office of Christopher A. Pearsall, Esquire

I am unfamiliar with the law of Austria and therefore can only advise you about law in the State of Rhode Island.

Your situation is puzzling. Do you simply want to change your name? In order to change your name in Rhode Island you can do it by one of two ways. You must be a resident in Rhode Island and file an action to have it changed in the Probate Court for the Town or City in which you reside.

Or, if you divorce your spouse in a Rhode Island divorce proceeding, which you can only do if either you or your spouse are residents of the state of Rhode Island for at least one year before the filing of the Complaint for Divorce. In such a divorce you can ask the Rhode Island Family Court to allow you to resume a former name.

There may be another way to change your name under Immigration and Naturalization Laws if you are entering the country but if you already have your current name for purposes of US citizenship I suggest you speak with an immigration lawyer to find out if there are any other ways to change your name under federal immigration law.

My very best to you.

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Answered on 9/16/13, 12:32 pm

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