Of all the difficult things that a person can go through during life, divorce is one of the hardest. In fact, divorce is rated as the second-most stressful thing that a person can go through, second only to the death of a loved one. This could be because divorce is the death of marriage — and in many cases, the death of the plans you had made for your future and your family.
Divorce not only causes stress to the divorcing couple, but can be extremely stressful for children, regardless of age. Once the divorce is finalized, there are subsequent stressful decisions to me made regarding finances, shared childcare and joint parenting, and the splitting of future planning, such as retirement accounts and investment properties. With all these big line items, it can be easy to overlook some of the seemingly smaller decisions you will have to make. If you are a woman who took her husband’s last name at marriage, and are now divorce or facing divorce, you will need to decide whether or not you want to keep your husband’s name. What are the benefits of keeping your ex-spouse’s last name? Are there detriments?
Many people opt to keep their married name after divorce for professional consistency or for the children. As divorce can be stressful and confusing for children, it may only augment the confusion when one parent begins to have a different name than the other. Other people opt to keep their married name, especially if they married early in life, because it is easier for professional reasons. Many people who kept their married name after divorce decide to keep that name even in the event that they eventually remarry someone else — for the same reasons of consistency.
Others may choose to keep (or change) their married name in an effort to leverage the decision in divorce proceedings. If one spouse feels strongly that the other should keep or change the married name, it may be a bargaining chip in divorce court. No spouse should forget that changing (or not changing) a married name will change the person’s relationship with debt: That is, changing your name back to your birth name will not deter creditors from finding you if you have shared debt with your spouse, and regardless of your name you will still be on the line for this money.
If you or someone you know is facing divorce and has questions about the legal consequences for changing your name (or not!) the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.