For many people, restoring their maiden names or former names after a divorce can bring a sense of peace and closure. Others, however, prefer to keep their married names for a variety of reasons. There is no right or wrong answer. Changing your name is your choice, and you should do what makes you happy. In California, the courts will heed your request either way.
Common Reasons to Keep a Married Name After Divorce
There can be several reasons a person would prefer to keep his or her married name instead of restoring a former name. Parents may want to keep the same last names as their children, for example, especially if the kids are young. Just because you finalize your divorce does not mean you have to change your name right away. There is no rush. However, having your divorce attorney include the option to restore your maiden name in your divorce decree is the simplest way to make the change. Some people wait months or years before changing their names back.
Many divorcees do not want the hassle of a name change on important documents and accounts after having one name for so many years. Once you are used to going by your married name, it can feel foreign to go by a different one—even if it is your former name. Other people plan to remarry in the future and want to wait until that day comes to limit the number of name changes they go through in their lives.
Some people simply feel comfortable with their married names. If your divorce was amicable and you have no qualms about continuing to go by your married name, there is nothing forcing you to return to it. Do what you feel is best for your situation. If you are content with your married name after a divorce, keep it.
Why You Should Consider Changing Your Name
Many believe it is too much hassle to return to a former name after a divorce. Divorces in California are already complex legal matters without the added stress of changing a name simultaneously. If you are under the impression that you have to go through the same measures to return to a former name as you did to change your name the first time, rest assured: that this is not the case.
Your attorney should ask you if you want to include the option to restore your maiden or former name in the Judgment form of your divorce. This is the simplest way to restore your name. If your attorney does not mention this option, bring it up before the consultation ends. Typically, the judge will see your request and include the option in your decree. This document is all the proof you need of your name change.
Many divorcees think that their maiden names are a key part of their identities, while others are happy that they do not have to go back to an odd or difficult-to-spell maiden name in exchange for a married name. The process of a name change is relatively simple in California and should not be the sole reason to keep your married name after a divorce. Ask yourself which name you identify with the most, and go with your heart.
Kiernan Hopkins works with Boyd Law as a legal writer and marketer. Boyd Law has offices located throughout California and has attorneys with extensive experience handling many different types of family and divorce law cases. Kiernan focuses his writing around different types of law and legal issues.