Julia has been divorced for nine years now and along with having child custody issues to contend with, she still wonders about changing her name. At the time of the divorce, she decided to keep her married name. Now she’s not so sure. Here’s Julia:
I stuck with Mrs. for three or four years after our divorce and then I finally moved to Ms. still with my married name though. The kids won’t let me change it.
Now that my daughter is at middle school and doesn’t attend the school where I teach, she says she’ll consider letting me change my name.
I wish I would have changed it a long time ago but the more I ask them about it, the more they’re like,
“We don’t want you to have a different name.”
Now what I’m worried about is that I have made a reputation for myself with this name, everybody knows it so that makes changing it hard. But I have a Bunco group and they’re the ones behind me, saying,
“You’ve got to change your name. Gotta change your name!”
So I don’t know.
The Divorce Coach Says
I did a whole series on issues around changing your name after divorce and keeping your married name. Although going back to my maiden name was a no-brainer decision for me, for many people it is more complicated and I respect that. It’s easy to complete the legal process as part of your divorce. You can still do it later but it’s a separate process and more complex.
The task of getting my name changed on all my accounts was tedious and arduous – far harder than the legalities. I think that would be the same regardless of when you do it. However, I suspect that the longer you stay with your married name, the harder it will become to make the change.
Julia’s concerns about her professional reputation is a case in point. And I suspect that explaining a name change to professional colleagues feels more awkward when it’s not associated with a marriage or divorce.
How important was it for you to have the same last name as your children? Were they the reason you didn’t change your name? Do wish you changed your name when you got divorce or if you did, do you regret it?
And a word of caution … there can be times when changing your name may be advisable such as when your spouse has serious money management problems or is a sex offender. If you’re concerned, you should discuss with your attorney.