Divorce: Should You Take Back Your Maiden Name?

Divorce provides you with many opportunities to make changes, and among them is the choice to revert back to using your maiden name. If you decide to do so, you should be aware that updating your important documents can be time-consuming and tedious, but for many the ability to make a fresh start with a new-old last name is worth the trouble. To help you make your decision, read below for 5 important points to consider.

Vital Points To Ponder

1.  The choice to take back your maiden name is strictly your decision alone to make. Divorce does not, in and of itself, compel you to change your name. If you opt to continue using your present (married) last name, you need take no action whatsoever. You should, though, consider the potential for some confusion if your ex-spouse remarries and she uses his last name as well.

2.  If you decide to take back your maiden name, the provision can be added into the divorce petition before filing, but if you have a change of heart after the filing, you may be able to amend the decree before it's final. Additionally, some states allow you to add the name change to the divorce decree, even if it is final.

3.  All documents that contain your name will need to be updated, the most important of which are:

  • Driver's license
  • Bank accounts, banking cards, checks
  • Social Security card ( the Social Security Administration helps out a bit by informing the I.R.S. about the change).
  • Passport
  • Property titles and deeds
  • Mortgage, student, personal and vehicle loans
  • Credit cards
  • Home, auto, renters, life and health insurance policies.
  • Electricity, gas, phone and other utilities
  • Investment and retirement accounts
  • Voter's registration
  • School records (for your children)
  • Work-related documents such as I.D. cards, business stationery and cards and human resources records.

4.  Men are also permitted to return to their pre-marriage name if they wish. Many men today opt for a hyphenated last name containing their last name and their new spouse's maiden name.

5.  Changing your name through your divorce decree is limited to using your maiden name (or whatever your name was previous to your marriage). You cannot simply choose a new last name at random and include it in your divorce decree. You can, of course, go through the traditional method of filing with your state to change your last name if you wish to use an entirely new last name.

Your divorce attorney can give you more state-specific information about reverting back to your previous name. For many, it's worth the trouble to start fresh, but carefully consider your options. Click here to learn more.