When there is a divorce, a party can have a former name “restored.” So some divorcing parties decide to keep their “married name,” that is the last name of the spouse they are divorcing. This is particularly the case when the parties have children and the divorcing spouse wants to have the same name as the children, to avoid confusion with the children’s school, doctors’ offices, sports teams, etc.
However, some spouses know that they intend to get married again right away. For these individuals, if they are going to remarry right away and take another married last name, it is probably easier just to keep the married name of the previous spouse and then change the name upon the new marriage.
There is no doubt that it is somewhat of “a hassle” to change the last name on credit cards, driver’s licenses, etc. Some people elect to keep their “married name” to avoid the work involved with such a name change.,
Here are some interesting things to consider related to name changes at the time of divorce:
--It is not required by law that the person changing the name notify creditors and other interested parties right away. They can wait a few months. There is no requirement about the speed with which such changes are made. Speedy notification could, however, be required by the credit contract that the divorcing parties have with credit card companies, banks, department stores, etc.
--One spouse cannot force the other divorcing spouse to “give up” a married last name. The spouse whose name it is has the sole discretion to make that decision.
--Some individuals have gone back to a former last name, of a different spouse, rather than reclaiming their “maiden name.”
--It is very important to let the Social Security Administration know of any such name changes, in order that your Social Security benefits are not compromised.
--The law applies equally to men and women, where a man has taken his wife’s last name or the couple has adopted a “common name,” that is a name of their choice that both utilize as their surname.
By Doris Truhlar