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Should you keep your ex's name after a divorce?

One of the biggest decisions that many divorcing women face is whether or not to change their last name. There is, of course, no one right answer. It's a personal decision based on a number of factors unique to each woman. However, there are several important things to consider.

Women who have children often keep their married name so that it is the same as their kids' last name. Children appreciate this bit of consistency in their lives after a time of upheaval. It also can save some confusion among school administrators and teachers if your last name is the same as that of your children.

Women who have built a professional reputation under their married name often choose to retain it to avoid a possible career setback and just overall confusion. In some cases, depending on the name, you may choose to go with a different pronunciation, just to make it your own.

On the other hand, there are those who argue that taking back your birth name -- many people see the term "maiden name" as archaic -- is a sign of reclaiming your life and identity after divorce. It's also a way of honoring your father, especially if there is no one else in the family left to carry on that name.

Some women take this opportunity to go with a different last name completely. In some cases, women take a last name that belongs to someone in their mother's family to honor him or her and perhaps to keep that name going.

It's important to remember, however, that getting rid of your ex's last name will likely not protect you from any creditors who may be after you for debts accumulated by your husband or you during your marriage. They'll find you anyway.

Whatever choice you make, you should consult with your Louisiana family law attorney about it during the divorce. A name change order can be included in the divorce decree. This will save time, paperwork and expense later on.

Source: Forbes, "Should You Change Your Name After Divorce?," Emma Johnson, Oct. 20, 2015

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