Getting Divorced: To Keep His Name or Not?

Jennifer Cullen

Divorce vanMaiden name. Married name. Another married name.

Having all of these names can be confusing. To the government, to those around you, to your children, and to you.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and don't remember who I am. Okay, that's an exaggeration but the confusion is real.

Before I sign any charge slips, I have to do a quick check of the credit card I used to see who I am. I have one credit card with my maiden name on it even though I got married for the first time over 15 years ago. A credit card, or two, with my first married name on it even though I got divorced over eight years ago.

But I have nothing with my current married name on it even though I've been married four years, because, this time, I didn't change my name.

I thought about all of these name change possibilities when I got divorced. And decided that keeping my first married name as my legal name was the best option for me. But here is how my thought process went.

Why keep the last name of your ex-husband?

  • Your married last name is better than your maiden last name: easier to spell, pronounce, or just nicer sounding.
  • So you have the same last name as your kids: it makes them feel better, causes less confusion at school, the pediatrician's office, and anywhere else you go with them.
  • You're known professionally by that last name.
  • No need to file all of the paperwork to change your name on your credit card, bank account, Social Security card, etc.
  • So that even when your ex-husband remarries, you'll always be the first Mrs. 

Why drop your ex-husband's last name?

  • Your maiden name rocked.
  • You want your identity back.
  • It gives you a final and complete break from the marriage.
  • So that every time you sign your name, you're not reminded of the SOB.
  • It's an awful last name. Lots of vowels and few consonants.
  • You weren't married very long.
  • You didn't procreate together.
  • You don't want people to think that you're still married. Could scare some potential dates at school with all of those single dads.

If you've been divorced, did you change your name back to your maiden name? Why?


Image via saintpo2007/Flickr

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