To Change Names or Not to Change Names?

Before your divorce is final, either side in the divorce may decide to change names.

PROTECT THE OPTION

This is an easy thing to do before your divorce is final.  However, you can only go back to a maiden name or a former married name.  You cannot pick a completely new name.  (If you want to choose a new name, you must go through the process set up by the Family and Probate Court).

CONSIDER THE CHOICES

Traditions have changed over the years with regard to names.  Many people now choose to keep their original/maiden names when they marry.  Some couples choose to share a hyphenated last name, and other couples have come up with even more creative options.  The name change issue is often harder for parents.  Many struggle with the decision to have a different last name than their children by retaining the name of a divorced spouse.  Parents with older children who will be grown soon may find it uncomfortable to be carrying the last name of a former spouse long after the divorce is over and the children are grown.

DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?

If you are going through a divorce and don’t know what to do, you don’t have decide immediately.  You can hold on to your right to change your name at a future time.  Just make sure that your final order (separation agreement) says you can change your name in the future.   If you do not preserve this opportunity for yourself, and later want to change your name, you will have to file the paperwork and pay the fee to get a legal change of name through the Probate and Family Court.

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