Should You Keep Their Married Name After a Divorce?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/13/2013 | 10:45 AM EST

To keep the name or to not keep the name-- that is the question

Aside from dividing assets and sharing custody of children, there’s one pressing issue women have to take into consideration after they’ve divorced their husbands: whether they should keep their married name, or return to their maiden name. For some, to keep or not to keep is the question, and that decision isn’t always an easy one.

Depending on the nature of the divorce, some women choose to rid themselves of all memory of their ex-husbands, including his last name. Ridding yourself of your married name can be liberating and therapeutic. But others do not only keep their married name...they embrace it.

In an interview with Wendy Williams, reality star Porsha Stewart, revealed that despite her nasty divorce with former NFL player Kordell Stewart, she will keep her married last name.

“It’s not his name, it’s my name,” she explained. “I was Porsha Williams at one part in my life before I got married. Marriage has taught me so much. I’m a whole other woman now so I’m going to own that last name. It belongs to me.”

Many women choose to keep their last name because they truly value the sanctity of marriage and believe that they, like Stewart, are not the same woman they were before the marriage, and therefore choose to keep the identity they’ve already settled into. There are also more practical reasons for wanting to keep your married name. Some women choose to keep it because they’ve already established their professional identity or brand. Celebrities like Kimora Lee Simmons, Tina Knowles and Nicole Murphy have all kept their married names. The same can also be said about women who keep their maiden name when they get married like Tamar Braxton (at least publicly). Others decide to keep it because they want to still have the same last name of their children - not to mention the stereotypes that come along with single mothers.

Making the choice to sever ties with your married name isn’t always an easy decision. Each woman should decide for herself. However, keeping it doesn’t have to mean you’re holding on to your ex-husband or that you’re giving him any power by doing so. You can also look at it as a reclaiming of the last name and reestablishing your identity after the dust has settled.

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