The question of which name to use post-divorce is a tricky one for many people. What would be best: to keep your married name, revert to your maiden name or create a new last name altogether?
Maybe you are adamant in making the change and want to include it as part of the divorce order. Do you want to reclaim your former name, providing more distance between you and your soon-to-be former spouse? Or maybe professional advantages exist in keeping your married name. You must weigh the options and make a choice.
Consider name recognition and your children
When determining whether to change or keep your name, keep these three issues in mind:
- Name recognition: Maybe you have been in a lengthy marriage and established yourself in a community far from where you grew up. People here may only know you by your married name. This likely will have significant impact if you have a high-profile career such as a physician, attorney, business owner and real estate agent. In such instances, name recognition remains crucial.
- Your children: How will your children react to your name change? They may not understand. In some cases, a divorced parent may think it is important to share the same name with his or her children. Certain complications and inquiries from others may be avoided by keeping your married name.
- The amount of work involved: Once a court order is in place to revert to your maiden name, the work just begins for you. You also must change your name on bank, credit card and retirement accounts. Updating your identification with your driver’s license and passport also is essential. And do not forget to contact utility and phone companies as well.
These are just some of the issues to consider when determining whether to change. Remember, this decision is yours to make.
Divorce doesn’t only involve matters such as division of assets, time-sharing and parenting plans. It’s also an opportunity to change your name – which does a lot to shape your identity and is there significant. You may choose to regain and reestablish a new identity from your maiden name or continue to share the same name as your former spouse. The choice is yours.