Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Married Name After Divorce

Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Married Name After Divorce

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After your divorce is finalized, you may be considering all of the changes you?ll need to make in your life. In addition to updating your beneficiary forms and your legal paperwork, such as a power of attorney and driver?s license, you might wish to consider changing your married name. This might seem like an additional hassle, after all of the paperwork and other expenses you?ve had to go through due to ending your marriage.

But there are pros and cons when it comes to changing your married name. It is not as difficult or as unusual to change your name as you might think. More women are deciding not to keep their ex-husband?s last name after the divorce.

Ask Yourself If You Should Go Back to Your Maiden Name

Ask yourself the honest question of whether or not you want to back to your maiden name. Many women who have gotten divorced choose to do this and this is fine. However, many women realize that they don?t want to reset their entire social life. Others may feel that changing your name after a divorce is a bigger part of an overall fresh start.

Consider the Benefits of a Clean Break

One of the biggest advantages of updating your name after a divorce is that you can establish a firm break with your former spouse. Just as taking his name when you got married was a signal that you were one unit, legally updating your name back symbolizes that you no longer wish to be connected legally, emotionally, or financially with your ex. It also symbolizes your independence and the fact that the marriage is completely over. There can be something empowering and cathartic about choosing a new name or going back to your maiden name.

Does Your Maiden Name Truly Reflect Who You Are?

Whether you categorize it coming into your own, aging gracefully, or closing this chapter of your life, coming out on the other side of any divorce can be a good time to be proud the new woman that you?ve become. Chances are that you?ll find that you are not the person that you were during the marriage. Just like you could benefit from an upgrade in your wardrobe and a new living situation, you might find that changing your legal name is an opportunity for an emotional makeover.

Con: Causing Confusion in Your Professional Life

A name change can be confusing, which is one reason why more women are thinking about keeping their married name even after the divorce is final. A name change can be especially confusing if you are a lawyer or a doctor with clients or patients who are used to referring to you by the married name. If you are a professional speaker or an actor or have a big network, it can be very problematic to change your name. If you consider that your last name is part of your brand, switching it may not be recommended idea.

Consider Your Children

Many formerly married women have changed back to their maiden name and allowed their children to keep the last name of the former partner. If you have small children, it may be easier to keep the ex-husband?s name so that you and the children can have the same last name. With a rising number of blended families, however, this is often less of an issue.

Fear-Based Reactions

Many of the reasons that a woman may choose to not change her name could be based on fear. If you are afraid that it would be too costly or complicated, you might be surprised to realize that it can be less expensive or as much of a hassle as it was to change your name when you originally got married. If you are concerned about offending your parents, consider talking over the situation with them after you have come to your own decision. Many women are also afraid of change, or afraid that it is unfair to the children.

If you reset your life after a breakup, it can already feel that you?ve gone through a tremendous amount of change. Changing your last name might seem like one more thing you don?t want to do. You don?t have to keep the same last name as your children if you don?t believe that this will affect them in any way.

Changing Your Name After the Divorce

There are a number of different things you can do to make it easier for you to change your last name after a divorce. First of all, if the divorce is not yet final, you can request it in the divorce decree. If you have already been divorced for a while, it may not be too late. You may not need an attorney to assist you with changing your name. Contacting the circuit court in the county or city where you live may be your first step. Make copies of all legal name change documents and keep these stored in a safe place since you will need them to update your other materials. From this point on, you?ll want to update the same documents you did when you got married. To make things easier, ensure that you address yourself a certain way and introduce yourself that way to others, too.

Some may ask for a request for the name change order, such as your bank. Making a list of everyone that you should contact with the update of your name change can make this process easier. This includes employers, creditors, financial institutions, the social security administration, the doctors? offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the passport office, IRS/state tax departments, voter?s registration, insurance providers, your landlord or mortgage holder, utility companies, and family and friends. Your will and all other legal documents should also be updated at this time to reflect the new changes in your life and your fresh start.


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