Should You Change Your Last Name After Your Divorce?

After going through a divorce, you’ll be faced with deciding whether to keep your married last name or revert to your maiden name. Here are the pros and cons of changing your last name after your divorce.

To many, the last name has a strong meaning. The last name identifies the family to which you belong. In some families, the surname is well-known within a community and even thrown around like a badge of honor.

When you go through a divorce, many women are faced with deciding whether to keep their married name or revert to their maiden name. Here are some pros and cons to help you make that decision.

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Pros and Cons of changing your last name after a divorce

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Pros of Changing Your Last Name Back to Your Maiden Name After Your Divorce

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Fresh Start

It’s a fresh start for you after your divorce. Depending on the circumstances of your relationship, this may be just what you need.

If you choose to keep the same last name, be prepared for old family members you never knew existed on your exes side to look you up on social media and introduce themselves as if you’re family for years to come.

If you no longer have your ex’s name, you won’t constantly be explaining to people that you’re no longer a part of the family.

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It’s Easy

It’s relatively straightforward to do if you include it in the divorce decree.

You Won’t Have to Explain

You won’t have to explain your last name to new dates.

If you’re constantly correcting the pronunciation or giving a backstory to the name, or if your ex’s last name is recognized in your city, you may feel more comfortable with your family name that your family is from.

Cons of Changing Your Last Name Back to Your Maiden Name After Your Divorce

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Everyone already knows you

Your married name is the name everyone already knows you by.

Depending on how long you were married, you may have met many people as your married name, and you have had your married name longer than your maiden name.

At a certain point, it becomes more of your identity than your maiden name.

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When kids are involved

Many moms keep their last name the same as their children unless they remarry. Especially for single-parent families, it helps the mom and children feel more like a family when they all share the same last name.

In many cases, the moms say they care more about sharing the same last name with their kids than they do about where it came from.

Related: How to Help Your Child of Divorce with Separation Anxiety

Having the same last name as your kids can make it easier to travel together if you have medical issues and at schools.

Of course, many parents have different last names, and it can all be explained but having the same last name takes away any questions.

It can be cumbersome

It’s easiest to change your name in the divorce decree, but it can be more cumbersome and involve a lot of paperwork if you don’t.

You’ll likely find many accounts, forms, and agreements that need to be changed for months to come. But it’s still possible if you’re up to work.

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In professional settings

If you’re known professionally by your last name, it’ll cause confusion, and you’ll have to announce the name change and likely explain over and over your new last name.

Many people are nosey and will ask why. Be prepared to explain your reasoning to family members as well.

Ex In-Laws

Depending on your relationship with your in-laws, your decision to no longer use their family name will either be taken as an insult or it will be expected. If you share children with your ex, you may want to consider this.

Related: What your kids need from you after divorce

Or you could…

You also have the option of reverting to a hyphenated name. You can add your maiden name to your married name.

Or you could keep your married name legally and professionally, which would make things easier both from a paperwork point of view and if you’re worried about explaining your personal life to people at work. Then use your maiden name for non-legal purposes. 

Should You Change Your Last Name After Your Divorce?