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Will I face any problems if I change my name after divorce?

When most people think about divorce they think about the process itself and how much time and energy gets put into it. But what some people tend to forget is that divorce is quite similar to marriage in the sense that it is a huge life-changing event that requires a lot of effort. This is especially true for people who decide to change their name.

But because divorce to some means leaving an old life behind and starting a new one, this could also mean the possibility of changing your name as well. Do you revert back to your maiden name or perhaps hyphenate it with your married one? Or do you change it to something completely different? If you have children, what do you do about their names?

This is one of the many parts of the divorce process that is often overlooked even though it can cause some problems down the road. Consider for a moment all of the institutions that currently have you on file. Like you did when you changed your name for marriage, the same process will need to be followed if you change your name during a divorce. Failing to contact all of these institutions could result in missed communications or even issues with accessing your accounts.

Considering the effects of a name change on your children is also important. Some schools have strict rules when it comes to releasing a child during school hours; and if the school does not have a record of the name change, even a biological parent may encounter issues.

A similar issue could arise with the child’s health care provider as well. If the child’s last name is different than their parents, physicians may find it difficult to link family histories. And as you can imagine, this could create problems with preventative care or even proper treatments.

Much of this can be avoided, however, if you properly notify these institutions about applicable name changes ahead of time and file the necessary documents as well when the change occurs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Should You Drop Your Ex's Last Name After Divorce? 5 Things To Consider,” Lenore Skomal, July 27, 2014

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