I’m in the middle of a series on changing or keeping your name after divorce and today, here’s a story from Louise who at first, like Mary Wright decided on keeping her married name and then changed her mind to go back to her maiden name.
When we told the kids about our divorce, one of the first things my son asked was ‘Mom, are you still going to have the same name as me?’ So at that point I decided I would keep my married name. Also my divorce attorney didn’t ask me about it until the very end so I didn’t have much time to think about it.
Now I’ve been divorced for over two years and I’m changing my name. My ex has been dating somebody and I decided I didn’t want to be another Mrs Doe. I was done being Mrs Doe and I wanted to go back to my maiden name.
I think my son is a lot more comfortable with the situation now and he understands that a name doesn’t really tie you together. It’s really your relationship versus your name.
It’s a lot more difficult to change your name after your divorce is final. I had to get fingerprinted and go before a judge to explain why I want to change my name now and why I didn’t change my name during the divorce. Then after that I had to publicize it in the newspaper three times, go back to the court and then they signed off on it. It wasn’t a huge amount of money – maybe $100 in total but it was quite a process.
Divorce attorney, Judy LaBuda explained that the process Louise went through is designed to make sure you aren’t trying to defraud creditors and that you don’t have a criminal record and yes, it is more involved.
“I always tell people when they come into my office, I can change your name with a stroke of the pen at the time of the dissolution,” said Judy. “If you don’t do it at that time you’re going to have to go through a lot more in legal process and it’ll cost you money. It’s better to think about it ahead of time and we can do it up until the day that the decree of the legal separation is filed with the court.”
Some of Judy’s clients hyphenated their maiden name and married name at the time of the divorce and she’s also had a few clients change to a different family name. “I’ve never had a problem doing it when someone’s said this isn’t my maiden name but it’s my mother’s maiden name and it’s what I prefer to use or my parents were divorced and the name I grew up with was my Dad’s name but I’d like to have my mom’s name now.”
Louise is also going through the process to change her daughter’s name.So more posts on name changes still to come including Kim who’s taking her husband’s name for a third time.