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Changing Your Last Name in Illinois After Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg Divorce Attorney

Although it has become more common for women to keep their maiden name for personal or professional reasons, taking a spouse’s last name when you get married is still a common practice. The tradition originates from old 19th century English law, where women were required to assume their husband’s surname. Today, 20 percent of women in the United States retain their birth names, but what happens when a member of the 80 percent decides to get a divorce

Since the 1980s, the divorce rate in the United States has decreased. Today, for first-time marriages, it sits at around 45 percent. When divorcing your spouse, a request to change back to your maiden name should be included in your divorce petition. This only concerns a switch to your birth name. A new request should be filed if you wish to change your name to something else.

Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about dropping your ex-spouse’s name following divorce:

Personal Identity

Maintaining the surname of your spouse may bring back painful memories of your relationship or divorce. Returning to your birth name can give you a sense of reclaimed individual identity. This way, there is no confusion of your marital status and no trace of your ex on important documents such as a driver's license or passport.  

Keeping Children’s Last Name

If you are the primary caregiver of children with your ex-spouse, it might be confusing for them to have a different last name than your own. Maintaining the last name that your children share will eliminate that confusion when it comes to school and other official business.

Professional Career

One reason a woman may decide not to change her last name to her husband’s is that she is already recognized in her field of work under her maiden name. If she instead gained recognition after getting married, she may choose to keep her husband’s name for professional reasons. For example, changing your name as a doctor may confuse patients or create inconsistencies in any published research. 

Contact a Palatine Divorce Lawyer 

It may be your personal decision whether to keep your partner’s last name, but a good lawyer is an absolute necessity when it comes to divorce. Get in touch with an experienced Schaumburg divorce attorney at Anderson and Associates, P.C. today to discuss marital property division, child support, spousal maintenance, and all related issues. Call 847-995-9999 to set up a free consultation.




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