I am often intrigued by the fact that a last name can be such a point of contention in family law cases. Most of our last names do not have the monetary value that was at stake in the Ike and Tina Turner case, yet people are sometimes willing to spend thousands of dollars to fight about this issue. For many people, a name is a deeply personal issue. Anyone who has ever misspelled another person’s name can probably attest to the fact that people are often sensitive about their name.
Recently a divorced husband asked me why his ex-wife might want to keep his name. For some women, it is important for them to have the same last name as their minor children. It reduces confusion with the schools and doesn’t give educators the immediate impression that the child is not from a nuclear family. Let’s face it; even with all of the divorces and remarriages in America today, there is still a stigma about “broken homes”.
For some women, it is a matter or convenience. Perhaps their married name is easier to spell or pronounce than their maiden name. For others, it is a matter of inconvenience. Who wants to spend hours in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles or have to deal with the Social Security Department for months?
On the other hand, some men are adamant that their name is their name. When the marriage ends, they want the ex-wife to stop using their last name. In cases where the parties do not have children together, who wants to be forever tied to a former love by a last name? Also, if the man remarries, there is the awkward issue of having two Mrs. Jones.
how to change my last name? This might be a questions wondering around your mind. So what does Georgia law say about name changes in family law cases? In divorce cases, the wife gets to decide if she wants to retain her married name or be restored to her maiden name. Just as a husband cannot force a wife to adopt his last name upon marriage, the decision to retain or change it after a divorce resides with the wife.
What’s in a name? Apparently a lot.