Finding Solutions To Complex Issues

In divorce, should I change my last name — or keep it?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Divorce |

Traditionally, when a Minnesota couple got married, the wife took her husband’s last name as her own. That is no longer how every couple does it. It is no longer unusual for married people to have two different last names or for their children’s last names to be hyphenated combinations of their parents’ names.

Still, plenty of married Minnesotans share a last name. So when a couple gets divorced, there is a good chance that one of them (likely, though not always, a woman) will have to decide whether to return to their old surname or keep their married name.

This decision is not as simple as you might think. A lot of people want to put their married name behind them and go back to their original surname. But there can be good reasons to keep your married name. Here are a few factors to consider.

  • Name recognition. If you have been married for a long time, many people in your life might only know you by your current name. This could especially matter in your career if you work in a high-profile job like real estate agent, where name recognition is important.
  • Name prestige. In rare cases, someone marries into a prominent family and, despite the negative feelings they now have about the marriage, wants to keep that association.
  • The children. Your children will still love you no matter what your name is. But many parents feel that having the same last name as their kids is essential.
  • The work involved. Changing your name can be part of your divorce order, but that is not the end of the matter. You still need to change your name with your bank, credit card company, and other companies. You also must update your identification like your driver’s license and passport. It can be too much hassle for some to deal with.

What you do with your name is up to you. It is an important but ultimately small part of the divorce proceeding compared with child custody and property division.