For many women, getting divorced is just the beginning of many changes to come. Women who changed their names to match their spouse when they got married have the option of resuming their maiden name after the divorce is final. Whether to change your name back after a divorce can be a difficult decision with a lot of different factors to consider. Every situation is different, but here are some things to consider before making the decision to resume your maiden name after your Pennsylvania Divorce is finalized:
1. Children – if your children have the same last name as your spouse, it may be difficult or confusing for them if you decide to resume your maiden name. Depending on a child’s age, the decision to change your name after the divorce may be something that you can explain to your child while reassuring him of her that they will always be loved, no matter your last name. Beyond your children’s reaction, you should consider your children’s friends and classmates. Remember that a third grader might not understand that you’ve resumed your maiden name and may continue to call you by your married name.
2. Your profession – Depending on the length of your marriage or when you were married, it may be the case that you’ve established yourself professionally with your married name. Consider the potential drawbacks of changing your name when it comes to name-recognition and advancement in your field of work.
3. Your motivation – You should think carefully about what is motivating you to change your name. Is it because you can’t stand your ex? Or is it for you? Divorce is an emotional process so it’s understandable that you want to distance yourself from your ex as much as possible. But changing your name is a big decision that should be undertaken for the right reasons.
4. The Process – If you changed your name a number of years ago, you may recall the long and arduous process and all of the paperwork involved. But with all the advances in recent years, the good news is that the process isn’t too long and arduous anymore. In Pennsylvania, changing your name requires only two trips: one to the social security office and one to PennDOT. After that, it’s a matter of sending your updated documentation to banks, credit card servicers, utilities, etc.
If you’re considering a divorce in Pennsylvania, you should consult a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn more about the divorce process and your rights. The decision to change your name is just one in a litany of big decisions that come with the divorce process.