It may go without saying, but divorces come with a quagmire of issues, and that’s just considering the property division disputes that come up. It is also common for warring couples to quarrel about things that other people may believe are simple issues to resolve. Whether a woman (or a man) wants to keep a former name after dissolution may be one of those issues.
Some women have no problem taking their maiden name back after divorce; others may see it necessary to keep their married name because of relationships with children. Some last names may come with a notion of privilege, power and access, so a divorcing woman may want to keep her last name because of this. In California, a divorcing spouse may return to a prior former name. Where a person has been previously divorced there maybe choices of which former name to choose.
If you are divorcing and want your soon-to-be ex-spouse to change the last name, what are your options? Essentially, you may have to make the change a part of the final divorce decree. If an agreement is reached, the name change will be part of the final settlement. This, of course, may require some financial concessions on your part. The question then becomes: how much is a name really worth?
Ultimately, a divorcing person is fully within their right to keep the married name after a divorce.
As such, if you don’t have a legal basis for forcing a change, you may have to find other ways to appeal to your spouse. Also, in California, divorced spouses may after the divorce file a request with the court to restore a former name. This does not require consent of the other former spouse. The change of name does not have to occur at the time of the divorce.
The preceding is not legal advice. If you have additional questions about post divorce name changes, an experienced family law attorney can help.