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What’s in a Name: Keeping the Married Name or Changing Back to the Maiden Name after a Florida Divorce

After four years of marriage, a Florida native divorced her husband, a Texas native. The same-name couple has had their fair share of publicity since they met on Facebook in 2009 when the female found him through some simple browsing. The two had fun with the little coincidence over messages, those messages evolved to a personal relationship and only a few months later the couple married in Coconut Creek Florida.gavel.jpg

Now the two have gone through a very amicable divorce – one less worry they have than your average divorcee is the decision and process of changing your name back. In some cases, this will affect the male partner, but nine times out of ten it affects the female. According to Laura Hamilton, a University of Indiana sociology researcher and a lead author of a name-change study puts the percent of women who do change their name at about 90-95%.

Women change their name at marriage for several reasons including family identity, legal recognition, or to symbolize a life change. Upon divorce there are numerous factors, aside from catchiness, to consider when deciding to change back or not. Firstly, it is symbolic – it is symbolic of a new start, a break from the old ways, a reestablishing an identity with your family over his. This name change after a divorce can lead many to begin being the person they felt was stifled during the marriage.

However, there are some downsides to consider with changing your name back. Career-wise you may suffer a setback. Name changes can lead to confusion, lost connections, and a difficult-to-discover professional history. It can cause a paperwork nightmare between employers, banks, DMV, Social Security, memberships, agencies, and nearly any other organization you depend on. You might like the new identity you made for yourself, and if the divorce was friendly, may lead to new feelings of loneliness. And lastly, it might be easier on your children to spare them the identity conversion.

If you wish to pursue a name change in the Fort Lauderdale area, the Law Office of Sandy T. Fox can help. See below for the next steps in the name change process:

Your Florida divorce decree may include a provision regarding your name change. In Florida, the judge will ask the wife her wishes. The husband has no voice in this decision. However, a partner may have agreed to change their name back in the couple’s prenuptial agreement or, in some high profile divorces, the ex-husband may make a generous offer to the spouse to agree to lose his name.

If this provision is missing you will need to contact the court that granted the decree to amend the document. If your amendment is denied you will need to petition for a name change.

If your divorce decree includes a name change provision or after you have successfully petitioned the court to amend for a name change provision – you will need to contact your local Social Security office. After proving your identity through personal ID such as your driver’s license or passport and providing your divorce decree and birth certificate – Social Security will then, if approved, mail your new social security card.

After you have your new social security card, you will need to use that in conjunction with your birth certificate and personal ID to change your name with your local DMV. Once you receive new driver’s license or passport you will need to contact your bank, and other agencies and organizations you are involved with. If you need assistance with the processes following a divorce, you should speak with a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney.

Attorney Sandy T. Fox is committed to helping his clients in Miami and throughout South Florida resolve their family law matters efficiently and favorably. His practice focuses exclusively on family law issues, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, name changes, domestic violence, paternity, alimony, and child support and custody. To schedule your confidential consultation with experienced family law attorney Sandy T. Fox, please do not hesitate to call our law office toll free at (800) 596-0579 or contact us through our website.

Related blog posts:

The Costs of Marital Infidelity in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, January 8, 2013
Sesame Street Finally Addresses Divorce in Florida and Nationwide, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, December 10, 2012
A Florida Divorce Often Impacts Your Career, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2012

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