There are many awkward decisions that have to be made in the midst of a divorce, but whether or not to go back to your maiden name is a big one. I think there is no right answer and it's personal for every woman, but I wanted to share my own thinking in how I came to the decision to keep my married name after getting a divorce.
1. My kids wanted me to keep it so we would continue to share the same last name. I'm not of the opinion that kids get to dictate adult decisions, but I'm also one to consider their feelings, and mine had big feelings over this one. In fact, it was the very first question that they asked when I told them we were getting a divorce — even before asking where everyone would live. I knew they were invested in sharing the same last name. Maybe even too invested, to be honest, but for whatever reason they held some familial meaning in that common last name, and felt like me forsaking it was forsaking a tiny piece of them. And while that narrative needs some dismantling, I felt like tending to their feelings on this one was something I could do. There are so many losses inherent in divorce. This didn't need to be another.
2. I've been a Howerton most of my adult life. I got married while I was still in college. This name has become a part of my identification, just as much as my maiden name ever was. Changing back to the name I had before I was even living on my own didn't feel like a step of progress. (For me. It might to others and that's okay.)
3. I have professional identification with my name. And as a writer/blogger, name recognition is kind of important.
4. It just seemed like a hassle. Changing documents, ID's, licenses, credit cards, bank accounts . . . all of that felt like too much work for little payoff. Not to mention, every social media handle I own. It was just easier (for me) to keep things as they are.
So, yes. I'm still Kristen Howerton.
I'm curious to hear how other divorced women navigated this issue.
This was originally published on Rage Against the Minivan and re-posted with permission.
About the author: Kristen is the mom of four children within four years via birth and adoption, and has been blogging at Rage Against the Minivan as a coping skill since 2006. If you are looking for a blog with great ideas for kids, amazing craft inspiration, scrapbooking help, and stunning photography, then AWESOME. There are a lot of those blogs out there. You should go find them.