A Powerful Symbol Of Change: Using Your Maiden Name After Divorce

For many women, the ability to take back their "maiden" name after a divorce represents a powerful and meaningful symbol of a change for the better. The decision to revert back to your previous name is a personal and individual one, however, and those contemplating this action would do well to consider the impact such a change could bring. To help you better deal with this big decision, read on to learn some important considerations about taking back your maiden name with a divorce.

It's entirely up to you.

You will never be required to take back your maiden name, but most states allow you to include such a provision in your divorce decree. If you fail to include the provision in your decree, you may be able to amend the divorce agreement to include the name change, depending on the rules in your state. If not, you can always go through the traditional channels for changing your name in your state, but using a divorce decree is definitely the quickest and easiest way to take back your maiden name.

Some careful thought should go into your decision, especially if you have been using your husband's last name for a long time. If you decide to keep using your husband's last name after your divorce, no action is needed; you will simply continue to use that name.

There will be some paperwork.

If you do decide to revert back to your maiden name, take a look at the following checklist to ensure that you don't run into some confusing and annoying problems in the future. Make sure that you update the following things:

  • Driver's License
  • Social Security card (bonus: the Social Security Administration will take care of informing the IRS about your name change for you).
  • Passport
  • Bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts (don't forget to have your checks reprinted and your debit cards replaced).
  • Real estate deeds
  • Vehicle titles
  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages, student loans, and personal loans
  • Electric, gas, cable television, internet, water, phone, etc
  • Health, life auto, homeowners, renters, etc insurance policies.
  • Voter's registrations
  • Work related: business cards and stationery, work ID/swipe cards, etc.

Points to keep in mind.

  1. Not only women are entitled to revert back to their pre-marriage name, men sometimes adopt a hyphenated last name when they marry, and they can also go back to using their previous last name with a divorce.
  2. This opportunity to change your last name back to your maiden name is limited: you cannot simply change your name to another name; it must be your maiden or previous name.

For more information, contact local professionals like The Divorce Company.