A person’s name is uniquely important to the individual that carries it. He or she may have been named after a family member, an important event, or a famous person. It carries with it memories, both good and bad, and life experiences unique to that person. For this reason, many people can become conflicted when contemplating a possible name change during divorce proceedings.
Although trends are changing, the vast majority of marrying couples, especially those contemplating starting a family, do change their last name so that they are the same. Some people do it for tradition, others so that their new family is easily identifiable and others, myself included, simply prefer their new spouse’s last name better. Whatever the reasons you had for changing it initially, contemplating changing it again during a divorce often invoke conflicting emotions within a person during what is a very emotional time.
Should you ultimately elect to change your name again, it is a simple matter to include your request within the pleadings for your divorce and provide testimony to the Court that you are choosing to change your name for your own personal preference and convenience, and not to avoid bankruptcy or criminal proceedings. No one, not even your soon-to-be-ex spouse, can force you to change your name if you do not wish to do so. If you decide not to change your name while you are divorcing, you are generally permitted to make the request within a reasonable period of time following the divorce through a simple Motion request.
If you miss that opportunity, however, you will need to follow the more time-consuming and costly option of filing for an official name change in the civil division. This involves publishing notification of your name change request in the local newspapers both before and after the name change is granted. Either way, your attorney can provide you with the direction and assistance you need to fulfill the legal requirements of a name change and the freedom and autonomy to select the name that will identify you as you move forward in the next chapter of your life. Posted By Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.