Many people going through divorce end up spending a lot of time thinking about the major issues like property division and child custody. While this makes a lot of sense, people should also spend some time thinking about some smaller considerations that can creep up on them. One of these considerations that affects women in particular is what to do about their last name. While the number of women taking their husbands last name has declined somewhat in the past 30 years, statistics still place the number of women changing their last name at over 80 percent, so the decision of name change after divorce is still one many women will have to face.
Considerations About Name Changes
One of the biggest things a person should think about when considering a name change after divorce is how their name is tied to their identity. For some women, the name will be a constant reminder of their ex-husband and the marriage they left behind. For others, the name has become a part of their own identity, and they do not associate it with their ex-husband, just themselves.
Beyond that, there are practical issues involved in a name change. Drivers licenses, bank accounts, professional licenses, and utility hookups all have a name attached to them. Changing that name involves no small amount of bureaucracy, and it can be a little while before all the straggler accounts get updated.
Finally, children from the marriage can also complicate the issue. Many children will continue to keep their fathers name. An ex-wife reverting back to her maiden name may end up with a different name than her children. While this is largely a symbolic issue, some children can find it upsetting, especially in the middle of the other issues associated with divorce.
How to Change Your Name
Name change after a divorce is not a difficult process, but it does involve some paperwork and phone calls. A woman's final judgment dissolving the marriage gives her permission to change her name. This needs to be done before the divorce is finalized, and it almost always makes sense to do so. Putting it in the final judgment gives a woman the option of changing her name at a later date; it does not require it.
The next thing to do is to work with the Social Security Administration to get a new Social Security card with the changed name. To do this, the Social Security Administration usually requires documents proving identity, citizenship, and the authority to change the name. With a new Social Security card in hand, the next step is a new drivers license. Again, this is going to require documentation linking the old name to the new name, such as a copy of the final judgment dissolving the marriage. Once the woman has both of these new official pieces of identification, the rest of the process is simply contacting private entities to make them aware of the change.
Divorce comes with many practical considerations, and it is important to have a full picture before making any decisions. If you have questions about the divorce process, contact an experienced Naperville divorce attorney today.