While in the process of getting a divorce this is likely to be one of the decisions that you will struggle with. It is also a very personal decision and there is no right or wrong answer. There are some things for you to consider when debating on whether or not to keep your married name or to return to your maiden name.
Think about the kids. When going through the debate of what to do about your last name it may be easy to forget that there are other people your decision can affect. Changing back to your maiden name will mean that you will no longer share a last name with your children. This can be confusing when dealing with schools and doctors, but it can also be confusing for the kids. If you are in the situation where the father is no longer involved in the lives of the children either then it is possible to change all of your last names. However, if the father is still around and demanding that the children keep his last name then you need to keep them in mind when considering your options.
Paperwork. It is important to remember that changing your last name is not as simple as signing a piece of paper. Not only will you have to make it official legally, but you will have to change your driver’s license, social security, bank accounts, credit cards and all other documentation that is listed under your married name. It is important that you realize that by changing one thing you will need to change all the others as well, in a timely manner, in order to avoid complications.
What about work? If you have a career and you have established yourself professionally using your ex’s last name then it is important to consider the impact the change could have. When dealing with clients and colleagues that have known you by your ex-husband’s surname for possibly many years it is important to take into consideration the ramifications that changing your last name could bring about. Are you comfortable with all of your colleagues and clients being aware that you recently went through a divorce?
Keep in mind that your soon-to-be ex may dispute your desire to keep his last name; it is possible that he will feel that if you are getting a divorce, then you should divorce his last name as well. Be aware that he has no say in this whatsoever. It is completely at your discretion to decide whether you would like to keep his last name, return to your maiden name, or you could even choose a whole new last name for yourself. It is actually becoming more and more common for divorced women to legally have their last names changed to some completely new. The feelings are often that they don’t want to keep their married surname because of the relationship to their ex that it provides, however returning to their maiden name can feel wrong as well. Women have stated that they feel like a different person now than they were when they got married, and also a different person since their divorce, therefore neither last name feels right to them. The main thing to remember when debating this in your mind is that it is a completely personal decision. Don’t revert to your maiden name just because that it what your best friend did; did not keep your married surname because that is what your employer recommends. It is important to consider all of the facts and the possible repercussions of each, both mentally and emotionally, before making the decision.