By Heather Locus | Forbes
What do you consider core to your identity – the things that make you “you”? Is it your relationships with the people around you? Your profession? Your own personality and quirks? How about your name?
These are not idle musings when you’re in the thick of divorce. As if the hundred other decisions you’re forced to make weren’t already enough, if you took on your spouse’s last name (or merely added it to your own), you may also have to make the call on what you’re going to do with your name post-divorce. What will you now do with this remnant of your past life? And what will your new identity be?
With everything you have going on, you may be tempted to take the path of least resistance and do whatever feels most expedient in the moment. But if you’re thoughtful, you can use the one decision that’s completely in your hands as the starting point of crafting your new identity after divorce – and do it in a way that honors your authentic emotional self while best positioning you for your next chapter.
Based on my experience, it is commonplace for a female spouse with children to retain their last name, and for a female spouse without children to restore their maiden name, upon divorce. And interestingly, there is a little known secret that in Arizona there is a statute that even permits a party to change her name as soon as the divorce petition is filed. The change happens almost immediately after the request is made and the other spouse has no ability to prevent it from happening. Many of my female clients appreciate knowing that this option is available to them.
–Kaine Fisher, Rose Law Group Partner and Family Law Director