Divorce is a difficult time in any couple’s life. There are decisions that need to be made and changes that need to be accepted. One possible change that is rarely discussed is: should you change your name back after a divorce?
Some people do revert back to their maiden name while others keep their ex-husband’s name until death.
The answer to this question is not easy. Changing your name is not only dependent on the divorce but several other factors. There are certain legal aspects that you must be clear on before you proceed with the name change. First, you need to make sure that your divorce decree provides you with the option to change your name. If it doesn’t, you can always request an amendment. You will need to discuss the process and cost associated with this amendment with a divorce lawyer. Most lawyers would recommend that you make sure your marriage decree offers you the right to change your name back. However, many people don’t even think about this since they don’t intend to be divorced when they are getting married.
So the question is: should you change your name back after divorce? Consider the following:
First, try to figure out why you want your name changed. Is it because you hate your ex- or because you are an independent woman? If you are just bitter and angry, try some stress-relieving exercise because a name change will not get rid of those feelings. If you want to change your name because you want your family name back or you value your independence, then understand how it can be done and go for it. Just make sure you know your motive for changing the name. And make sure it’s worth the hassle.
Second, there are women with children who are not very keen on changing their name after a divorce because they don’t want to have a different last name. Sometimes having two different last names in one household can lead to confusion. So once again, evaluate whether it is necessary.
Third, for some people, going back to their maiden name can help their career while for others it can just create more headache. For example, if you were married, worked as a doctor and have made a name for yourself in the local community, it would not be wise to change your name at this stage. You still want your patients to recognize you by your old name. However, if your spouse was associated with something bad or if your spouse had a bad reputation which could potentially affect your life and your children’s life, you should change your name as soon as possible. The point is that it completely depends on your circumstances.
Fourth, there are many divorced women who still have their ex’s last name, and they are not bothered by it. It is all a matter of comfort. If your last name does not bother you even if you are no longer married to that person, just leave it as it is. But if you had a troubled relationship or if your partner hurt you in a way that you cannot digest moving forward with their name alongside yours, change it.
Fifth, there are some people who are divorced and want to get their last name changed but are just too lazy or too busy to go to court. Remember, when you change your name, you will have to get the same change made to your driver’s license, your passport, and other important documents. You may also need to make many phone calls to utility companies, change your social media status and so on. All this takes time and effort and in some cases, money. Make sure it’s worth your time and your money.
The fact is that changing your name back after a divorce is a very personal decision. Many factors are at play, but in the end, it is up to you whether you want to do it or not. If you do and if you want to find out how you can do so, talk to one of our lawyers at The Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell, and we will be happy to assist you.