Many women (and even some men) replace their last names with their spouses’ last names when they marry. Often, they add their spouse’s last name (with or without a hyphen) after their own.
Either way, if you legally took on your spouse’s last name when you got married, you’ll need to decide what to do as you divorce. This is a highly individual and personal decision. Let’s look at some factors to consider when making it:
- How long have you been married?
- Would it be a disadvantage to you professionally to take back your previous name?
- Would continuing to have your spouse’s last name bring you pain?
- Do you have children who have your spouse’s last name?
Parents sometimes choose to keep their married name so that there’s less confusion for their kids at school or when they travel with their children after divorce. However, it’s more common than ever for parents (especially mothers) to have a different last name than their children, this shouldn’t be a significant issue.
How difficult is it to take back your name?
The state of Texas, like many states, lets divorcing spouses reclaim their previous name as they divorce. It’s part of the divorce petition and takes effect once the divorce is final.
You can then provide a copy of that divorce decree when you change your name with the myriad places you need to notify. You’ll need to have your current legal name on your driver’s license and passport and with the Social Security Administration, your employer, your financial institutions and more.
While there’s no shortage of red tape when you change your name, if it helps you move on and reclaim your identity, it’s worth it. Only you can decide what’s best for you. This is just one part of divorce where having sound legal guidance is worthwhile.