Whether or not a woman changes her name when she marries depends a lot on how she feels about the social convention. Even though it’s no longer uncommon for a married woman to retain her birth name after marriage, 79% of women in opposite-sex marriages still take their husband’s last name when they wed.
For women who do, that can present a problem if the marriage doesn’t work out. They then have to decide if they want to resume using their unmarried name after the divorce. If you’re trying to make the decision, there are a few things that you’ll want to explicitly consider.
How do you feel about keeping the name?
If your marriage was tumultuous, you may have developed some very unpleasant associations with your current last name. Changing back to your unmarried name can represent a definitive break from the past and help you emotionally move forward.
Do you have children who share your name?
If you’re a mother, you may have mixed feelings about using a last name that’s different than their last name. If you change your name, young children may feel confused about the switch, while older children may have a different emotional response. If they’re having trouble coping with the divorce, they could see your name change as a type of rejection.
Could changing your name affect your career?
If you’ve been using your married name for a long time, you may not want to rebuild your professional reputation. The iconic singer Tina Turner, for example, famously asserted her right to use her ex-husband’s last name as her stage name because she was already well-known.
Ultimately, the decision is one that only you can make. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help.