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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    46

    New Surname After Divorce

    Hi Berries!

    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!
    Mommy to Genevieve Beatrix, born 09.23.09

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Adelaide Australia
    Posts
    576
    You absolutely can choose any surname you wish to use in the UK, my cousin has a completely new surname for herself and her daughters all of whom had different surnames before the change.

    How about your mother's maiden name if you want to keep some connection?
    Thrilled to be mother to @gnes Ei1ish Madeline and Fe1icity Bridget Be@trice

    If we'd had boys the list was: Godfrey, Seamus, Alexander, Michael, Felix, Peter, Ignatius & Sebastian.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    46
    Hi norbury,

    I forgot to mention that I'd rather not take her maiden name because I just don't like it and I'd have to spell it for everyone all the time. I've also thought about my maternal grandmother's maiden name, which is Chalmers. I like it, but I don't think it goes well with my name, which ends in an -er, you know?
    Mommy to Genevieve Beatrix, born 09.23.09

  4. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    4,093
    I'm not sure of the legality but I don't really know why you wouldn't be able to change your last name - I feel like your reasons are solid enough. If you can't change it during your divorce I'm sure you can file for a legal change of name later citing the reasons you did here. I think it becomes more difficult if you have children with your ex-husbands last name. It just makes life all the way around more complicated they could have a weird reaction you didn't expect.

    If you want something traditionally English or Scottish to match your heritage why not look at sites like these (see below) for inspiration.
    http://surnames.behindthename.com/names/usage/english
    http://www.britishsurnames.co.uk/lis...ttish+Surnames
    MAJOR CONSTRUCTION ZONE
    newlywed!!! (not trying...yet)

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    676
    Hi Gingerkid! I can't speak to changing your name in the US, but I know you can do it in Canada. A former co-worker of mine didn't like her last name, and had a very strained relationship with her father and brothers. She felt no connection to the name, and decided to change it to another last name, from within her family. She was lucky enough to have the last name Hope on her family tree, so she legally goes by that now. If I'm not mistaken, it was her grandmother's maiden name, and she had a very close relationship with her.

    For what it's worth, I don't think Chalmers would sound bad with your first name at all, but perhaps there's another name on your own family tree that has meaning to you.

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