In western society, either party can take the other’s last name when
they marry, take a new name or hyphenate their names. Yet it is most common
for women to take the last name of their husband. When marriage ends in
divorce, many women wonder if they should change their last name back
to their maiden name or not.
Issue to Consider When Considering a
Post-Divorce Name Change:
- If you have children, they may be concerned if you change your name so
that it is different than theirs. It’s an identifying label in their
minds that means you belong together – you are a family group. In
fact, experts have indicated that when one parent changes their last name
due to divorce, it does increase the confusion on the part of the children.
- If you took your ex’s last name, and the marriage ended badly, the
name could carry negative significance that you no longer want tied to
you, your work, your life, etc.
- A name change might not be best move if your career depends on professional
- Changing your name post-divorce can be a big part of a “fresh start”
that many need at that point.
- Changing your name will not enable you to dodge any debt associated with
your married name – so don’t bother if this is your reason
for doing so. The same applies for criminal prosecution. The court will
actually determine that you have a good faith reason for changing your
name back in order to avoid doing so for either of these reasons.
The name change can be used as leverage
during divorce negotiations in situations where one spouse feels very strongly one way or the other
about it. Be aware that this could be an issue or a potential tool for
- If you don’t change your name back post-divorce and you remarry,
make sure that you sign the marriage license application with your married
name (from the previous marriage). If you don’t, and use your maiden
name instead, you won’t be able to use the license to change your
name to your new husband’s last name.
If you are going to change your name due to divorce, don’t wait until
you are already divorced. Always request that your divorce attorney include
a name change order that restores your maiden name within the divorce
decree. Women who do not have the name change order within the decree
will have to petition the court separately for a legal name change order,
which can be a costly and annoying process.
If you still have questions or concerns regarding changing your name due
to divorce, please get in touch with one of the experienced
Arizona divorce lawyers waiting for your call at Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We would love to help you.