What’s in a Name? Post-Divorce Name Change

What’s in a Name? Post-Divorce Name Change

There are several reasons why people change their last names for marriage; the most common referring to the symbolic merging of two people into one family and under one family name. In our society, it generally makes it simpler to identify who is a member of which family by namesake alone. However, though the trend is moving in the direction of women no longer changing their birth names to join the husband’s family, there are still many who believe in the tradition. At divorce, however, there are several considerations that the families must make with regard to the last name: Should everyone revert to their birth names or maintain the married names as a symbol, in particular, to limit confusion for the children? This article will examine the legal, symbolic, and logical reasons to either keep the married name or return to one’s birth name at the end of the marriage.

Reasons to Keep Your Married Name After the Divorce

For many women and men, there are several reasons to keep the married last name that they took at the time of the union:

Professional purposes. If your last name has clout as a result of several years of professional ladder climbing, there may be more reason to maintain the last name. This may be in particular if you married young or at the beginning of your career where your name echoes through the professional halls of your field. The possibility of “reinventing” yourself (i.e. return to your birth name) may have the harmful effects of losing part of your client base, either out of confusion or possible ill effects that a divorce may have caused. In addition, if you are an entrepreneur with a business name that mirrors your married name, this could hurt your brand.

For the children. Many children, especially when they are young enough to not fully understand divorce but old enough to be aware that their life is about to change, may be already be feeling the effects of the divorce as it is. Having a parent no longer share the last name may create a potentially larger wedge between child and parent, with a sense of ties being cut. Talking to your children about the last name may help to alleviate these concerns especially when the children may be old enough to understand your reasons for considering the name change.

Complications and difficulties from a name change. Overall, changing your name can be an extreme hassle. Not only would you have to change your driver’s license, but you would have to change every single document that you have ever put your married name on. In addition, one thing to consider: changing your name does not mean that you no longer are responsible for debt and other obligations. Those just have to be changed over as well.

Reasons to Return to Your Birth Name

Reclaim your independent identity. After a divorce, especially where the terms were extremely acrimonious, the last thing one would want is a stinging reminder of the divorce. Changing one’s name back to his/her birth name provides the individual a certain level of autonomy and freedom. The change is not only legal, but it can also be symbolic.

The birth name has clout itself. Though many professional men and women try not to rebrand themselves after a divorce because it can be risky, sometimes there may be a desire to separate themselves from the family name, especially when the divorce is on the heels of a scandal. Not being associated with your ex-spouse and his/her family may help you rebrand for the better.

Legally required to change. Sometimes divorce papers will stipulate that the family name must be pulled from the ex-spouse as a condition of the divorce. In these cases, even if the spouse wanted to continue with the last name, it may be a legal impossibility.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

The decision to keep your married name or revert to your birth name carries with it serious consequences and requires long consideration before making a decision. Identity is crucial after a divorce and deciding how to represent yourself can have emotional ramifications, as well as many legal considerations. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can help guide you through the divorce process and how a name change may affect you and your family. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.

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