If you are in the midst of a divorce, there may come a time when your attorney asks you if you intend to "take back" your maiden name. Not all women adopt their husband's last name with marriage, but if you did, you have the opportunity to go back to your own family name with a divorce. While doing so can add an empowering symbol of change and moving forward to the divorce process, it can also create confusion. Read on to learn more about how this decision can affect your new life after divorce.
It's Your Call
No law says you have to go back to your maiden name with a divorce, and many women just keep using their married names. This is your decision alone to make, and you if you have children that use your ex's last name, it might just be easier to continue using the same name. The important fact to keep in mind is that it's your choice and you should make the decision during the divorce process instead of after. The option to take back your maiden name is included within your divorce decree, and leaving it for later could result in you having to file for a name change outside of the divorce, and paying separately for it with both money and having to show up for a hearing.
Updating Your Documents
When you consider all the places your name appears, it can be a daunting task to make changes if you opt to go back to your maiden name. Take care of the most important identification documents first, using your divorce decree as proof of the name change. For example:
1. Drivers license, Social Security card, and passport
2. Financial institutions like banks, retirement and brokerage firms must update their paperwork, and you should be ordering new checks and bank and credit cards. Be sure to let your mortgage company, loan servicers and utilities know.
3. Real estate deeds and car titles should be updated.
5. Voter's ID cards
6. Contact human resources to have your work records changed, along with business cards.
A Word About Males
Nowadays, it's not that uncommon to find a couple where the husband altered his last name when getting married. You may have a last name that is now a hyphenated combination of both last names, and if so they are just as entitled to change back to their previous pre-marriage name as the female of the couple.
Speak to your divorce law office today for more information and assistance.