If you are going through a divorce, you may be considering taking back your maiden name. You should know that you can include a provision for a name change in your divorce decree, without the need to attend a separate court hearing. Divorce means change, and for some people the act of dropping their married name is symbolic of making a fresh, new start. Regardless of the reason, this decision should not be taken lightly. To gain a better understanding of the ramifications of reverting back to your maiden name, read on for 5 important points.
1. There is no law which compels you to take back your maiden name-- the choice is yours to make. If you wish to continue using your ex-partner's name the rest of your life, you may do so. You might want to take into consideration the potential confusion that could result if your ex-spouse's new wife wants to also use the same last name, however. This may turn out to be a non-issue if you live in different areas or if your children are out of school.
2. Your state will likely require specific wording to be included in your divorce decree that addresses any name changes; however, you may be able add the provision in an amendment if you have already filed with the court. Some states allow you to change your name after the divorce is final as well, if done so within a certain period of time.
3. A name change will prompt a flurry of document updates, so make a list to avoid leaving out an important issue that could later cause problems. For example, failure to change your name on a real estate deed could cause delays when you get ready to sell your home. Consider making changes to:
- Driver's License
- Titles and Deeds
- Social Security card
- Credit Cards
- Bank Accounts
- Home Utilities
- Insurance (home, renters, auto, life, health)
- Loans (vehicle, home, student)
- Voter's Registration
- Retirement and Investment Accounts
4. The provision for name changing is not restricted to women only; many men adopt and use a hyphenated wording of their wife's maiden name when they marry. Just as with women, the provision for the change should be included in the divorce decree.
5. Finally, it should be noted that you cannot use a divorce name change provision to adopt an altogether new name. The provision only allows you to revert back to your pre-marriage name.
States often have their own specific laws about this issue, so if you need more information about divorce-related name changes, consult with your divorce attorney, like one from Albert & Slater PS.