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Creating a new identity with a post-divorce name change

On Behalf of | May 20, 2021 | Divorce |

Any person who has experienced divorce, whether in Tennessee or elsewhere, understands the long to-do list that comes with the process. Divorcing people must make life-changing decisions about so many things. At some point in the process, a divorcing individual must give some thought to crafting his or her new identity as a single person, and part of this process may involve a legal name change. An expert suggests a few points to ponder when deciding what to do about a surname, as well as advice for people who have chosen to change their name.

Is a name change a good idea?

A divorced person who is considering a name change must first think about what their current name means to their identity; for example, is their married name how they are known and respected in their community, as a professional, etc. Before initiating a name change, a person should also think about his or her feelings toward the marriage. If the married name conjures negativity, a name change will likely help that person make a fresh start. Parents may also think about whether having a surname different than their kids will cause them a loss of connection in some way.

Steps toward a name change

People who have decided to make the change need to take two main sets of actions: a legal change through the courts and a change to all pieces of ID, financial documents and the like. To make the court-recognized change, people will likely have to begin the process with a court document (usually the final divorce decree or initial petition for dissolution for the marriage), but they should find out the specific details for their state. Next, a person must be sure the new name is reflected in many important areas, beginning with Social Security card, driver’s license and passport, as well as financially impactful items, such as financial accounts and insurance policies and the like.

Many people may find the process to change their name post-divorce (should that be their decision) involves a bit of work, but likely, most consider this contribution to their new identity well worth the trouble. For valuable legal guidance, in all stages of the divorce process, most Tennessee couples turn to a knowledgeable family law attorney. He or she can help people navigate what can be a complicated time in their lives.