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Should You Change Your Name During Divorce?

Many people who changed their name when they got married consider changing it back after a divorce. Because names are an incredibly personal, foundational part of our identity, the question of whether to change back can be difficult.

Factors to consider

These name change considerations are common among divorcing people:

  • Professional and social recognition: When you’ve made professional strides under a married name, like earning degrees and moving up the career ladder, changing your name may impede future opportunities simply because people may not recognize your “new” name. Similarly, some people wish to avoid social confusion when they’ve had their married name for a long time.
  • Sharing a name with the kids: Many parents like to share the same surname as their children, so they decide to keep their married name.
  • Ex-spouse: If you’re divorcing amicably, you may want to consider your ex’s preference, even though you have the final say. On the other hand, changing your name after a difficult divorce is often a way to psychologically separate yourself from the experience, especially if you harbor resentment toward your ex.
  • Paperwork: Changing your name when you divorce can involve a lot of time, hassle and paperwork. Some people simply don’t want to deal with updating their drivers’ licenses, credit cards, Social Security cards, insurance policies and more.

If you want to separate your identity from your ex while avoiding the social and practical ramifications of a name change, consider hyphenating your name. You can keep Robin Jones as your legal name, for example, but introduce yourself as Robin Smith-Jones on a social and professional basis.

Should you choose to change your name, your attorney can include it in your divorce filing. They can also direct you to helpful resources which will guide you through which documents and government agencies you’ll need to update after the divorce is final.

For help with your divorce and related questions, call the knowledgeable divorce lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN.

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Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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