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Can I use my maiden name while I’m separated?

December 27, 2016 Blog

When a couple gets married, one spouse typically takes the last name of the other spouse. Traditionally, the wife will legally change her last name to her husband’s last name and use that on her driver’s license or other documents. However, can a female use her maiden name when she is separated from her husband?

You Can Legally Change Your Name at Any Time

There is no rule that a woman has to use her husband’s name after she gets married. In many cases, a wife will keep her maiden name or use both last names after the marriage is made official. Therefore, it is possible to go back to using a maiden name at any time or changing to a different name of her choosing if she so desires.

Make Sure to Change the Name on Relevant Documents

Those who plan on using their maiden name during a separation will need to make sure that they alert creditors and others about the change. Otherwise, it may be impossible for a woman to apply for a credit card using a maiden name if her married name appears on a drivers license or other forms of identification. It may also be necessary to change the name that appears on a checking or bank account or on any checks that a woman wishes to write during the separation.

Is It Worth Going Through That Hassle?

It is important to ask whether it is necessary or useful to use a maiden name during a separation. If a woman chooses to get back together with her husband, it may be necessary to go through the process of changing her name on her drivers license or on the checks that she wishes to write.

However, it may be worthwhile to go through the process in the event that a husband is abusive or tries to control her financially. By using a maiden name, a woman’s husband may not be able to track her spending or the source of her financial independence. It may also make it harder for the husband to take out loans in her name if he doesn’t know about the change.

Using a Maiden Name May Be Harder on the Kids

Another factor that you should consider when deciding whether or not to use your maiden name, it may be worth considering how it could impact the kids. Whether or not you like your potentially former husband, a last name is part of a child’s identity. They may want to keep that name and may feel confused or betrayed if you don’t follow suit. At a minimum, it may be a good idea to explain to them why you have chosen to use your maiden name.

If you are going through a separation, it is your choice as to what name you want to use. Ideally, you will only change your name if you don’t think that there is any chance of salvaging the relationship or if you are trying to escape from an abusive or controlling partner. Otherwise, it may be best to keep your married name until you are officially divorced.



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