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Should I change my name after getting a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2021 | Divorce

There are still several steps individuals must take after a divorce in North Carolina. From officially dividing property according to the divorce settlement agreement to growing accustomed to the custody arrangement, the post-divorce checklist can be longer than many people anticipate.

One item on this checklist often includes legal name changes. The process to change one’s name after divorce can seem tedious. While some people are determined to change their name, others wonder if it is necessary.

Two factors to evaluate about changing your name

The answer to the question of whether or not to change one’s name depends on their preferences and situation. If individuals are not sure how they wish to move forward, there are a few things they can consider:

  1. Their official identity: It is critical to consider how changing one’s name – or not – will impact their professional life. Individuals should contemplate their career goals, and what they wish to be known as professionally. They should also consider their preference for their legal identity, on their driver’s license or Social Security card, since a name change affects that as well.
  2. Their personal feelings: How individuals wish to identify themselves in their personal life plays a large role as well. Some people want to change their name to separate themselves from their ex-spouse and move forward. On the other hand, some divorcing parents are hesitant to have a different surname than their children, as a recent Forbes article points out. Understanding and evaluating personal feelings on the matter is important too.

These two factors are not distinct. They affect each other and the overall decision regarding name changes.

Consider the financial impact too

Finances play a big role in divorce, as many people know. Name changes can affect financial matters as well.

Changing one’s name may not affect the amount or value of financial accounts, but it does impact the account itself. Individuals who change their surnames must ensure all of their accounts reflect this change, including but not limited to:

  • Credit cards
  • Bank accounts
  • Savings accounts

Establishing a separate financial life is critical after divorce. Therefore, individuals should carefully consider the timing of their name change with the opening of new financial accounts.

One’s identity is important, for themselves and for how they wish to be known in the world. It is not something to take lightly.