The result of divorce is ending life together with your current spouse so you can move on as much as possible, only sharing what is absolutely necessary, such as time with children. It is normal for divorced people to get rid of things that remind them of the painful relationship.

What about your married name? Is the last name of your ex something you should retain or drop? There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on your own feelings and circumstances.

Reasons to keep your married name

Many people choose to keep the married surname for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The legal process of changing a name takes time and money.
  • You want the same last name as your children.
  • You have a long-established identity with that name, especially in business or the military.
  • You want to keep the divorce as private as possible.
  • The divorce was amicable, and you do not mind still having the name.
  • Problems with your family of origin prevent you from wanting to revert to your birth name.
  • You anticipate remarrying and do not want to go through two name changes.
  • Your married last name is easier to spell and/or pronounce.

Reasons to change your married name

Though it may be more of a hassle, there are also many good reasons to drop the married name. When no children exist and the marriage was short, it may make more sense to go back to your original surname. After an abusive or a joyless marriage, reclaiming your previous identity may help you start over. Maybe you were never keen on taking your spouse’s name in the first place and want your old one again to honor your family.

If you choose to go back to your birth name, all you have to do is include it in the divorce proceedings. Choosing a completely new last name, however, requires a different process.