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Should you take back your maiden name after your divorce?

Women who took their husband's last name at marriage are often faced with a difficult question during the already difficult time of divorce: Do they or don't they change back to their maiden name (or a previous married name) after the divorce?

The right answer is going to vary depending on how you feel and your circumstances. Here are all of the things that you need to consider:

  1. Is your professional reputation tied to your married name? How hard would it be to rebuild? For some women, including the famous singer Tina Turner, keeping a married name is essential to keeping a certain professional identity.
  2. Do you and your spouse have minor children together? Will it trouble you (or them) emotionally to have different last names? For some families, this isn't an issue. For others, it's a huge one.
  3. How long was your marriage? If it was brief, you may still have a significant bond with your name prior to the marriage whether it was from birth or a different marriage. If it was long, you may have a strong personal identity with the name you carry now.
  4. How badly does the name make you feel? If the marriage was particularly wretched, shedding your spouse's last name could be symbolic of leaving behind the misery of your married life together.
  5. How much do you like the name? How much do you like any of your previous names? No one has any right to judge you if you hate your maiden name or your previous married name and like the one you have now better. The same goes if you hate the one you have and only took it out of convention. Change it back if it makes you happier.
  6. Is it worth the hassle? Think back to when you got married and everything you had to update: Social Security cards, bank accounts, utilities, credit cards and magazine subscriptions. If you don't want to bother, you don't have to bother.

If you decide that you want the option of returning to either your maiden name or a previous married name, make sure that you tell your divorce attorney to include it in your filings. Otherwise, you'll have to file name change paperwork as a separate motion. That's an additional hassle you really don't need.

Source: HuffPost, "Should You Change Your Name Back After Divorce?," Jackie Pilossoph, accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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