Should you keep or change your married name as you divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | Divorce |

If you took your spouse’s last name when you got married or added it to your maiden or previous name, the decision to divorce requires some thought about how you want to identify yourself going forward. It’s a decision that depends on a lot of factors.

Maybe you’re already sure about what you want to do. Maybe you change your mind about it every few days or so. It’s a big decision, and it’s worthwhile to ask yourself some basic questions. For example:

  • How long have you had your married name?
  • Would it be a disadvantage to you in your career to change your name at this point?
  • If you have children, do they have your spouse’s last name?
  • Would keeping your spouse’s last name cause you more pain?

Often, people have to weigh the pros and cons of changing their names back. That’s particularly true if they replaced their name with their spouse’s when they married rather than adding it to their own – hyphenated or not. For example, maybe they really don’t want to carry around this person’s name any longer, but it’s part of their branding as a professional so changing it could have significant financial repercussions. Maybe it’s so much a part of who they are that they can’t imagine changing it now.

Sometimes, parents are concerned that it will be confusing and unsettling for their children if they no longer have the same name. However, kids typically adjust to changes more easily than adults give them credit for. If they understand why you’re doing it and that it has nothing to do with them, it shouldn’t be a problem. 

Taking back your name in Georgia

Under Georgia law, people can ask for their names to be restored as part of a divorce filing. The name change is effective with the final divorce decree.

You’ll need to provide a copy of the divorce decree to the places you’ll need to notify of your name change. While there may be more notifications required than when you changed your name upon marriage, there are name change packages you can buy online that simplify the process.

This is a highly individual decision that no one else can make for you. However, if you have sound legal guidance throughout your divorce, you’ll be able to take time to properly consider what’s best for you.