Should a woman change her name in a North Carolina divorce?


It can be difficult for some North Carolina residents to move past the end of a marriage. However, some people choose to view it as a new beginning. For a woman, changing her name in a divorce can be a concrete symbol that takes her into the future.

In many cases, if a woman chooses not to keep her soon-to-be ex-husband’s name, she opts to return to her maiden name. However, a woman does not have to choose only between her current husband’s name and her maiden name. If a divorcing couple has children, however, choosing a surname different from the children might cause issues in the future.

In an emergency, proving parentage could be problematic. Of course, the children’s names may also be changed, but then it could cause issues for the father. With proper planning, however, the majority — if not all — of these issues can be dealt with easily.

First, the easiest and most cost-effective way to change a woman’s name is when a divorce is filed. Informing anyone who will be impacted by the name change ahead of time could eliminate some confusion. Once it is official, a copy can be given to anyone who needs it, such as schools and doctors. This is especially necessary if the children’s names will remain the same as the husband.

It is solely the decision of the woman whether to change her name or keep her husband’s name in the divorce. North Carolina law allows a divorcing woman to change her name to her maiden name, the surname of a prior husband who is deceased or the surname of a former husband who is still alive with whom the woman has children. Whatever the choice, a woman needs to be sure that she follows all of the legal steps required by law to make the change.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Should You Drop Your Ex’s Last Name After Divorce? 5 Things To Consider“, Lenore Skomal, July 27, 2014