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The Divorce Question: To Change (Your Last Name) or Not to Change?

Changing your last name after divorce may sound like a good idea. Returning to your maiden name is a good way to reclaim yourself as a single individual. For some, the change in last name helps the necessary emotional disconnection. Others feel bitter about their exes and do not want to carry anything of theirs with them into a bright new future.

But there are actually some reasons you might want to keep your married name. Here are a few to consider:

  1. Your kids. Do you want to share the same last name as your children? For some, this isn’t an issue, but some people are bothered by the idea of a different name. On the other hand, if you remarry someday, you might end up with a different last name anyway, depending on whether you change it then.

    Changing your last name requires the joyful wait at the DMV. Photo by Brian Holcomb.
    Changing your last name requires the joyful wait at the DMV. Photo by Brian Holcomb.
  2. The effort. Changing your last name back requires the same paperwork and DMV lines you dealt with when you married. Although this is not as onerous as it used to be, it is one more step to consider. In some cases, it’s worth the effort. But if having his name doesn’t bother you, you’ll save yourself a lot of name changing forms. You can always change it later, too.
  3. Work. If you are well known in your industry or networking circles by a certain name, changing it might confuse people or cause problems.
  4. Your comfort level. If you’ve been married a long time, you may simply be known by your last name and prefer to keep it.

Changing your name after divorce or not really comes down to what’s in your heart. How do you feel about your old name or your current name? Do what feels right. And if it feels right to change your name, learn more about how.

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