After the Divorce: Married Name or Maiden Name?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Sep 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

Your divorce is moving forward, and you're looking forward to beginning the next chapter of your life. If you're like many divorcing people nowadays, you may ask yourself: Do I keep my married name or reclaim my maiden name?

There are pros and cons to both choices, and there are differing schools of thought as to which is best. Ultimately, there's no right or wrong answer: the decision is a highly personal one, and you have the freedom to decide what's best for you and your family. That said, a name change is still a significant move with numerous ramifications, so let's look at some factors to consider when making your decision.

Professional Connections to Your Married Name

If you have built up a career under your married name, it may make sense to keep that name professionally. After all, your clients or customers already know you by that name, and changing it is essentially a form of re-branding. That could cause confusion or even cost you business. If you're a doctor, lawyer, or some other professional with credentials under your married name, reverting to your maiden name could also require going through the process and expense of changing your license, degree, or other professional documents. On the other hand, if you're starting a new business or launching a new career in the wake of a divorce, you may prefer to use your maiden name for these endeavors as a way of making a fresh start.

Family Ties (Especially with Children)

If you have children from the marriage, your decision about whether to keep your married name or revert to your maiden name may be influenced by their feelings about it. If you have a close relationship with your children and share custody of them, you may want to keep the same last name so that they feel more connected to both of you and to protect their sense of identity. If you don't have children, this factor won't matter as much—and likewise, if the kids are grown, they may or may not have as strong of an opinion as to a name change.

Emotional Attachment to Your Married Name

For some people, a name change is simply a way of putting the marriage in the rearview mirror and moving on with their lives. For others, it signifies a clean break, which may be necessary on an emotional level, especially if you're coming out of an abusive relationship. In this sense, you need to think about your relationship—not to your ex, but to your married name itself. If the name holds sentimental value for you and you feel it is part of your identity, there's no harm in keeping it. If the name evokes strong negative emotions, or if you never really liked it in the first place, changing back to your maiden name may provide some closure.

Contact a Family Law Firm in Raleigh

Whatever you decide about your last name, Jerkins Family Law is here to help facilitate your divorce. There's no right or wrong timing to a name change, but bear in mind that including a name change in the divorce decree is simpler and less costly than initiating a name change after the fact. For more information, call us today at (919) 719-2785 or contact us online.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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