The majority of women who marry take the last name of their new husband – a tradition that dates back centuries. While in the last twenty years more women have chosen to hyphenate their last name, the trend still remains that at the time of divorce women will have to make a decision about whether to restore their “maiden” name.
As this story from the Huffington Post indicates, the choice is not always so simple, particularly when children are involved.
In particularly short marriages with no children, women generally restore their maiden name – a “fresh start” and to put bad memories behind. But in marriages of any length that produce a child, the child will have the last name of the father (or in a small number of cases a hyphenate of both parents’ names). If a mother restores her maiden name, she will no longer have the name of her child, which sometimes proves hard for that child. The child may feel like in rejecting the name the mother is rejecting the child, or that there is something wrong in carrying the name of the father. Women may also have professional reasons for keeping a married name or restoring a maiden name.
The woman in the Huffington Post article had decided to wait before choosing what to do about the name. She did offer some excellent closing advice:
The only thing I’ve realized going through a divorce is that there are no rules. No right or wrong answers. Not in life, in marriage. Not in deciding on a last name either. There isn’t a crystal clear answer waiting for you. No perfect decision. No prize for the most correct answers. In the end, you just have to do what you think is best for your life moving forward. The best decision for your last name? The one that makes you glad you chose it, every time you have to sign your name.
If you have questions about restoring your name after divorce, contact us – we can help.