If you are a spouse who changed your name upon marriage and is now going through a divorce, the question always arises about what to do with your last name. For those who had not changed their birth name to their spouse’s upon marriage, this is not an issue. However, for many couples, the decision of whether to keep the spouse’s name or revert to one’s own birth name has pros and cons.
Divorce carries many changes and adjustments. The dissolving of a relationship, distribution of property and assets, notifying friends and family, and negotiating the legal system are all stressful life events. One’s name is a highly personal issue and can be an emotional one, but there are practical and legal considerations to consider.
Reminder of the Marriage
Particularly if a divorce is contentious, keeping the married name may not be an emotionally sound option as it is a reminder of the ex-spouse and the negativity associated with the relationship. In those cases, returning to one’s birth name can be a healing process and part of moving forward.
Consequences for the Children
However, for some divorcing spouses with children, reverting to one’s birth name can have unintended consequences for children. Children who are already undergoing a major life adjustment can sometimes find the change of a parent’s name jarring or upsetting. Some parents may feel it is more important to dissolve any connection with the former spouse.
Loss of Identity
For a spouse with a professional career in which they are known by the marriage name, changing it could be ill advised. Yet, other experts advise that the long-term effects may outweigh the short-term inconvenience. As time goes on, the spouse may even regret not changing their name to create their own professional identity separate from the ex-spouse’s surname.
In Favor of Keeping the Married Name
Others may not have a negative feeling regarding their married name. Other considerations in favor of keeping a married name may be a birth name that is not easy to pronounce or the confusion that can initially happen when children do not share the parent’s name. Many formerly conventional decisions about keeping one’s name have fallen by the wayside, but ultimately, each spouse will have to make their own decision about this aspect of divorce.
It is also important to note that if the name is being changed to ensure that it is part of the divorce decree. It simplifies the process and avoids having to spend money to modify the decree afterwards or get a separate court order just for the name change. Changing one’s name does not allow a person to escape debt. It is important to talk to an experienced South Jersey divorce lawyer about this and all aspects of a divorce to fully protect your rights.
South Jersey Divorce Lawyers Provide Experienced Representation for Your Divorce
If you are considering a divorce, we have the experience and compassion you need to guide you through the divorce process and advocate for your rights. Located in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County. For a free consultation, please contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505.