Assuming A New Identity After A Divorce Via A Name Change

When a married couple proceeds through a divorce, many changes occur as a result-- from splitting up property to determining a visitation schedule for children. Understanding the process of these changes, of course, is the key to achieving the result that you desire. A big part of the process, especially for women, is the legal changing of your last name. While many individuals decide to return to their maiden name after a divorce, you also have the option to change your last name to whatever you choose. If you're going to be soon wrapping up a divorce and are hoping to change your name as a result, there are several things you should be aware of involving the process (as well as the restrictions for it):

Choose (Mostly) Whatever You Desire

In the majority of provinces, you have the right to change your last name to whatever you personally desire. Keep in mind that while this is completely within your rights, it does not extend to your children, and you can't just change their last name without going through a much lengthier court process. If you want to be more creative than simply using a hyphenated name or returning to your maiden name, the sky is the limit-- simply keep these rules in mind:

  • Don't even attempt to change your name to someone famous because most judges won't consider it. Unless you have a compelling reasoning to explain to the judge why you should become Tom Cruise, don't waste your time.
  • Try to keep the name clear of anything that can be confusing or hard for legal documents to process, such as exclamation points, question marks, or numbers. While you might think it would be funny to be named "Jane Smith!," it's simply not legally allowed.
  • Steer clear of offensive or obscene last names; most courts won't allow it and you'll likely be embarrassed of them later on in life anyway.

Making It Legal

To make things easier, talk to your attorney about making your name change a part of the divorce proceedings. While you can wait until after the divorce is official to do the paperwork, it would just create an additional step that could easily be completed during the proceedings. After it's been signed and made official by a judge, you'll receive a copy of your legal name change documents and can effectively update your driver's license, receive a new social insurance card, and change any other documents you may need.

For more information, contact Donald B Phelps Law in Vancouver or a similar firm.