Many divorced women wonder this very question as they go through the process of separation: once the property settlement is complete and the parenting arrangements sorted, should they give up their ex’s surname? But what are your options? Go back to your maiden name? Pick something completely different?
Many divorced women don’t want to be left with a last name that they did not grow up with. Many are reverting back to their maiden names, but more and more are choosing new last names, Some women don’t like their maiden names, so they pick a maternal grandmother’s last name or the name of another relative to whom they were very close. The new name is really a reflection of frame of mind and starting fresh.
There is no right answer for divorced women and whatever you decide to do is as personal and unique as your circumstances.
Three Reasons Divorced Women Keep Their Married Names
1. For the Children
The top reason for not changing their last name after divorce is that they want to have the same last name as their children. This may provide some continuity and stability for the children if you feel that’s necessary for your family.
2. To Maintain a Consistent Identity
For some women, keeping an ex’s last name is matter of identity. You may have been known by that name for longer than you had your maiden name! Whatever name you feel best represents your identity is the right choice for you.
3. It’s a Hassle to Change It Back
You may remember how hard it was to change from your maiden name to your married name. You’ll have to change everything, from bank accounts to your drivers licence to your Medicare card, and some divorced women just don’t want the headache of it all.
Two Reasons Divorced Women Change Their Last Names
1. To Reclaim a Sense of Identity
Interestingly enough, many divorced women make the same argument for reverting to a maiden name as choosing not to – affirming their identity. Many say that taking back their maiden name made them feel like an individual with their own sense of who they were prior to marriage.
A number of women are are only too happy to give up their ex’s name when they remarry.
Get Prepared to Change Your Name
If you decide to change your name, then no matter what name you pick, here are some suggestions to help minimize the glitches after you make the change:
Plan, plan, plan: Inform everyone of the name change — schools, sports organizations, associations, doctors, health care providers, postal service, insurance companies, family members and even business associates if applicable. You’ll probably need to provide the information in writing in some circumstances.
Talk to extended family and friends: Involving your loved ones helps with support and minimize the surprises. Ultimately, your name is your decision, but explaining it to those close to you means that it’ll become the new normal more quickly.
Be ready for opinionated people: Even though the world may seem like a changed place, traditional values are still deeply entrenched. Some people may not agree with your decision and tell you so. But it’s your name, and your choice.
Speak up immediately: If someone addresses you incorrectly, don’t let it pass. Too often we let our own insecurities keep us silent and that will of course create confusion.
Most important is that you choose carefully when making name changes or not. Then, embrace your choice. Project confidence in your choice because it is your identity.