In western society, it is common for women to take the last name of their husband. When marriage ends in divorce, many women wonder if they should change their last name back to their maiden name or not.
Issue to Consider When Considering a Post-Divorce Name Change:
1. If you have children, they may be concerned if you change your name so that it is different than theirs. It’s an identifying label in their minds that means you belong together – you are a family group. In fact, experts have indicated that when one parent changes their last name due to divorce, it does increase the confusion on the part of the children.
2. If you took your ex’s last name, and the marriage ended badly, the name could carry negative significance that you no longer want tied to you, your work, your life, etc.
3. A name change might not be best move if your career depends on professional consistency.
4. Changing your name post-divorce can be a big part of a “fresh start” that many need at that point.
5. Changing your name will not enable you to dodge any debt associated with your married name – so don’t bother if this is your reason for doing so. The same applies for criminal prosecution. The court will actually determine that you have a good faith reason for changing your name back in order to avoid doing so for either of these reasons.
If you are going to change your name due to divorce, don’t wait until you are already divorced. Always request that your divorce attorney include a name change order that restores your maiden name within the divorce decree. Women who do not have the name change order within the decree will have to petition the court separately for a legal name change order, which can be a costly and annoying process.
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