New Surname After Divorce
I don't post here much, but I'm a huge Nameberry fan, and I know you ladies will have great advice. I wasn't really sure where to post this question...hope I'm in the right place!
So, my divorce is nearly final, and I had decided to go back to my maiden name at the end of it all. I'm dreading the hassle of changing my name everywhere, and I actually like my married name much, much better than my maiden name...but, my ex-husband was abusive and very controlling, and I'm fairly certain he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I need to make a "I'm not your property anymore" kind of a statement.
The thing is, my whole life I've hated my maiden name. It's incredibly common: Brown. And for many years before I got married I wanted to change my name mostly for the same reasons why I want to change my married name now...my dad was very abusive and cruel to me, and I wanted him to know that I was rejecting him as my parent. I have very common first and middle names, as well, so I've met people with my exact same name several times in my life.
My lawyer says I can't pick any name, I have to either keep my married name or go back to my maiden name. So, at court on Wednesday, I said I wanted to go back to Brown. This weekend, I met someone who got divorced in the same state as me and she was able to pick an entirely new last name for herself. She told me my lawyer is wrong. I have a legal aid lawyer, so maybe it's just an extra process and legal aid won't pay for it or something? I might be able and willing to pay to change it myself, though. I don't want to have to go to the trouble of changing my driver's license, social security card, etc., all for a name I hate and don't want to go back to.
Does anyone know about the legality of this? And beyond that, how would you all suggest I go about figuring out a new surname for myself? I'm very proud of my Scottish and English heritage, so I'd like to stick to names that would reflect that. I want the name to have meaning, if possible. And my first name starts with an H, ends with an R, is two syllables, and was the 3rd most popular name in 1975. (Sorry, I don't want this post to be found by my ex!) My middle name is Lynn. I like long names, and I really liked that my married name had three syllables...I like how it flowed.
Thanks for any and all advice and help! I really appreciate it!