What’s in a name? Your last name could represent many things. If you kept your maiden name when you got married, it could represent your family legacy or your professional reputation in the Federal Way and Seattle area. If you took your spouse’s name, it could symbolize the commitment you made to each other. And if you hyphenated your last names, it could represent your intentions for a new beginning in your lives.
Divorce does more than end a marriage. It can raise questions about your identity. Figuratively, you will have to figure out how you will live without your spouse and potentially have your children around less often. But speaking literally, if you are a woman who changed your name when you got married, you may now have to face the question of what your name will be once your divorce is final. Will you keep your married name? Or go back to what your last name was before your marriage?
Seven things to ask yourself about your name
This is an important decision. Fortunately, it’s one of the few things in your divorce that is completely up to you. If you are not sure, here are seven questions to ask yourself about your last name:
- How much is your self-identity tied to your current last name?
- Does your last name evoke happy or unhappy memories of your marriage?
- How would you feel if your children have a different last name than you?
- How important is your name to your career?
- Do you have the time and energy to go through the steps of changing your name?
- If you are in a new relationship, are you planning on getting married again soon?
- Is your spouse likely to try to make it an issue in your divorce?
Whether you change or keep your last name is an important decision, but there are many more decisions you must make when getting a divorce. To make smart choices about property division, child custody and so on, you need to know your rights and obligations under Washington law.