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Quick Answer:

Should You Change Your Last Name After A Divorce?

While retaking a prior name after a divorce is common, it’s not without issues. It may leave children feeling uncomfortable, and there’s a lot of time and effort involved in getting it changed in so many different places (such as on your driver’s license, at the bank, or with the social security office).

When a party to a divorce wants to take back the name used before the marriage, in our society, it’s frequently the wife, but it could be whichever party at the time of the marriage began using the other party’s last name. I do know of one case wherein the man took the woman’s last name, and, of course, there are many marriages where neither party changes names.

We are going to discuss here whether a person ought to re-take a prior name. Note that the correct term is the re-taking of a prior name, not a change of name. A change of name is entirely different as it means changing one’s name to a name one never had before. That is fairly expensive to do. Re-taking a prior name is not.

Things to consider in deciding to re-take a prior name (such as a maiden name, birth name or previous married name) would be how young children of the marriage would feel about it – they would end up trying to explain to friends why their name is different from that parent’s – and all the records one would have to correct. Driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, post office record and all your bills and things one receives by subscription, to name the most common. One must consider then the possibility of errors made when agencies are advised of the change and, of course, what happens when those agencies forgot to notify, need to contact, or otherwise deal with you.

As you can see, re-taking a prior name can create problems; but, time and patience will likely correct them. It all depends on the importance to the person making that decision.