Changing Your Name after Divorce

Divorce Decree Document & Gavel - William Strachan Family Law

There are many decisions that we have to make during a divorce. One of them is making a choice between keeping our married name and returning to our maiden name. California law gives women the right to include the choice in the divorce judgment. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of changing your name after a divorce.

Times and traditions seem to have changed

The world has certainly changed since our parents tied the knot. Back then, it was more or less accepted practice for wives to take the last name of their husbands. Now that it’s August 2015, we see more and more women in Orange County breaking with tradition and keeping their maiden name for professional reasons or simply because they like their name.

Before we jump to the erroneous conclusion that a woman changing her last name after marriage is a thing of the past, all we have to do is take a look around. There are many married women adopting their husband’s last name. We even know of men who have taken the last name of their wives or have adopted a hyphenated combination of both last names.

What should we do when the marriage is over?

We have heard women express different reasons for changing their last name after a divorce to use a prior surname. Some of the more common reasons include:

• Breaking all ties with the former spouse
• Never really liking their married name
• A desire to take back what we perceive as our true identity

There are equally valid reasons to continue using our married names after a divorce. The most common of these is to keep the same last name as our children. Another popular reason is to maintain the professional identity and reputation we developed during the years that we were married.

Single Mother with Two Kids - William Strachan Family Law

California simplifies the process of changing a name after a divorce

We could not ask for an easier process for changing our last name during or after a divorce. When a divorce is pending in California, a request to the judge to include a change to a former surname in the judgment is all that is required. After the divorce is completed, a name change to a former last name may be accomplished through a written application that is available at the court clerk’s office.


Do you have questions regarding name change after divorce? If so, call the Law Offices of William M. Strachan at (714) 841-1931 or visit his website to schedule a consultation.