Name Change in Divorce

Do You Need a Fresh Start?

Everybody knows you can change your name in divorce.  Through the years, I’ve talked over the idea of changing their last name with many clients.  There have been reasons clients chose to make the change and there have been reasons not to change their name.  It is always an individual choice, and not one for the lawyer to make.

Presuming you aren’t trying to avoid bad credit problems or hide a criminal history there are some factors that are universal about changing your name.  Here are some tips and pointers to think about when you are facing that time and choice that I’ve discussed with clients through the years:

New Name is Fresh Start

A new name will give you a fresh start moving forward.  While nothing can change the years in your personal history, you can begin each day with a fresh outlook and a fresh name to match.

New Name Means Changing Everything

Your new name and fresh start will take work and time.  You will need to change your name everywhere you are known by your prior, married name.  Here are a few of the places: driver’s license, Social Security, banks, employer, and passport.  So, make a plan and work it.  In Denton County, the Social Security office is minutes away from the Denton County Courts Building.  The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles just a short drive from the courthouse also.

Career after Divorce

Consider how your name is associated with your career.  Do you have a current, active career?  Are you resuming a career that was on hold for a few years?  Consider both possibilities when you are thinking about this.  It could be that your prior name is more closely associated with your prior work and employment history.  Or maybe your current name is associated with your employment and career or reputation.  Also, are you choosing to resume your career or is working now going to be required because of financial issues.  Whether or not you have the time to redefine yourself and reacquaint yourself with earlier contacts may be a fact also.

Children after Divorce

Finally, if you have kids you will need to consider how you will feel with a different last name than theirs.  This is really a personal factor for you and your children.  And, in the case of a second marriage and divorce, maybe going back to a prior name will actually give you the same name as your kids again.

There is no right answer for this question, just your answer.  Find a good family law attorney to help you through your divorce.

Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454