Shall you keep your married name after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2023 | Divorce

An overlooked dilemma often surfaces in divorce cases. And that has to do with your last name. You have a decision to make. Will you retain your married name, return to your maiden name, or even come up with an entirely new last name?

Benefits and drawbacks may exist in any of these scenarios. Reclaiming your maiden name will definitely provide a greater distance between you and your former spouse. But if you have had your married name for decades, you may want to consider keeping it for professional and personal reasons. You must think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages that come with this decision.

Name recognition on the professional front

Understand how a name may affect you as well as others who are close to you. Here are some important matters to keep in mind as to whether to change your name:

  • Name recognition: You may have relied on your married name for decades in establishing your professional career and “building your brand” whether it be in real estate, medicine, law or business. You fostered many relationships with many community members who know you by your married name. In such situations, you may not want to change it.
  • From your children’s point of view: With this in mind, changing your name may be an easy or difficult decision. Will your minor children become accustomed to having a parent with a different last name? This may confuse them. Intrusions from curious people would be kept at bay, too, if you continue to have the same name as your children.
  • Extra work necessary: With a name change, you likely will have to push the restart button on all matters related to identification. You must update your name on things such as your driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, credit cards, bank accounts, retirement and investment accounts as well as utility and telephone bills. This may take several months to accomplish.

Keep these matters in mind when going through a divorce and determining whether you will change your name.

A significant decision

This decision is a small, but significant one. Reclaiming your maiden name means establishing a new/old identity. Keeping your married will continue to provide professional and personal benefits related to your career and your children. It is up to you.

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