Deciding Whether to Change Your Name after Divorce

change your name, divorce, Illinois Divorce AttorneyIf you took your husband’s last name when you got married, you will be faced with a potentially difficult decision upon your divorce. Of course, the divorce process includes many challenging decisions, but you may find deciding what to do about your name to be among the most conflicted. From an official, legal perspective, changing your name back is easy, but the impact of your changing your name can affect you on a much deeper, emotional level.

While there are examples of divorce decrees requiring a woman to change her name after divorce, for the most part, nobody can force you into a decision. It is a very personal consideration impacted by a wide range of factors, and the right answer is whichever choice satisfies you. In making the decision about changing your name, think about some of the concerns that countless other women have considered:

Your Personal Identity: Who do you see yourself to be? Are you Mrs. X, simply by virtue of being Mr. X’s wife, or has Mrs. X simply been a name associated with a strong, independent woman? If you need to create a clean separation from him, then consider changing your name. If the name does not feel like a strong connection to your ex, maybe think about keeping it, depending upon other factors.

Your Professional Identity: During the course of your marriage—and the duration of your marriage can certainly be factor—you may have established a business or created a professional reputation for yourself. Perhaps you are a teacher or an administrator, or maybe a CPA or attorney. Changing your name could present challenges to keeping your clients, students, etc. informed and may even lead to increased expenses in new letterhead or signage for your business.

For the Kids: More parents than ever have different last names than their children, thanks to the increase in blended family and single parent situations. That does not mean, however, that you must follow the trend. Talk to your kids about what they would prefer, or if they even really care.

Does it Even Matter to You? In the end, you may not feel like all the stress over a name is necessary. That too, is a perfectly reasonable approach. Keeping your name will prevent you from having to notify banks, utility companies, the DMV, and other institutions, as well as correcting countless acquaintances when they refer to you by your married name. Although such issues are not terribly difficult to deal with, if it is not a priority to you, do not let anyone force you into anything.

Whatever you decide about your name, there are many other considerations that must be addressed during the divorce process. Fortunately, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams for a free confidential consultation. We will review your case and assist you in finding the outcome that best suits your family’s needs. Call [[phone]] to schedule an appointment today.

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