Can I keep my married name if I get divorced?

Dear Liz,

Can I keep my married name if I get divorced or can a judge make me change it back to my maiden name?

– Mrs. Ex

Dear Mrs. Ex,

I remember a scene in a biopic of Tina Turner in which she stood before a judge and defended her right to keep her married name. After all, she had built up an amazing career, changing her name could have been bad news for her bottom line, but I digress. The truth is, I have no idea. But you know who does? Our resident divorce guru, Amy.

Here is what Amy had to say:

No one can require you to change your name – not the judge and not your ex-spouse. Many folks choose to keep their married name in order to maintain the same name as their children or because the bureaucracy of changing names at Social Security, banks, etc., can be inconvenient. However, if you do choose to change your name you are not limited to your maiden name. You can pick whatever name you choose, provided the name chosen is not intended to defraud.

And there you have it.

Good luck!

~ Liz

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