Burke Levy, P.C.

The value of a name change after a family law case

Massachusetts women who go through a divorce often want to reclaim their former name. Some feel strongly about making a public statement about their identity, while others find the change to be a powerful symbolic gesture that has deep personal meaning. Regardless of the reason, changing one's name after a family law matter is a multi-step process that many people feel is well worth the effort. 

The first step is taking the divorce papers to the DMV to have a new license or photo ID issued. That step facilitates all other name changes. Most people choose to go to the nearest Social Security office to have a new card issued with the correct name. 

Changing the name on all banking and other financial accounts is next. This is also a good time to ensure that one's former spouse is no longer listed in those accounts, as an authorized user or a beneficiary. Credit card companies may be more difficult to work with, as they often want to keep both spouses' names on the account in order to retain the right to pursue either party for payment. 

Finally, make a list of all nonessential accounts and tackle those as time allows. This includes store reward cards, frequent travel accounts, magazine subscriptions and so on. Many people find it helpful to create a master list of these accounts and add to it as their family law case moves forward. For many women in Massachusetts, reclaiming their name is deeply rewarding, and well worth the time and effort it takes to accomplish that goal. 

Source: reuters.com, "Your Money: Cost of a name change after divorce? Priceless", Beth Pinsker, March 26, 2018

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