How Does a Woman Go Back to Her Maiden Name After a Divorce?
How does the wife go back to the use of her maiden name after the divorce?
Divorce is a significant life event that often prompts individuals to reassess various aspects of their lives, including their identity. One aspect that holds particular significance for many individuals, especially women, is the decision to reclaim their maiden name. The right to revert to a maiden name after divorce represents more than just a legal procedure; it symbolizes the reclaiming of one’s identity, autonomy, and agency.
The right to revert to a maiden name after divorce varies by jurisdiction but is generally recognized in many countries worldwide. In the United States, for example, most states allow individuals to petition the court for a name change as part of the divorce decree. This process typically involves filing a formal request and providing a valid reason for the name change, such as personal preference or the desire to reclaim one’s pre-marital identity.
Historical Context of Name Changes in Marriage and Divorce
The tradition of women taking their husband’s surname upon marriage has deep historical roots, often rooted in patriarchal societal structures. This practice symbolized the transfer of a woman from her father’s household to her husband’s, signifying her new familial allegiance. However, with the rise of feminist movements and changing societal attitudes towards gender roles, the significance of names has evolved.
The 20th century witnessed significant strides in women’s rights, including legal reforms that granted women more autonomy and agency within marriage and divorce proceedings. One such reform was the recognition of a woman’s right to retain or resume her maiden name after divorce. This shift reflected a broader societal acknowledgment of women’s individuality and the importance of maintaining one’s identity beyond marital status.
New York Law on Going Back to a Maiden Name After a Divorce
New York Domestic Relations Law 240-a addresses this issue of going back to a maiden name after a divorce in New York. That section provides:
Judgment or decree; additional provision. In any action or proceeding brought under the provisions of this chapter wherein all or part of the relief granted is divorce or annulment of a marriage any interlocutory or final judgment or decree shall contain, as a part thereof, the social security numbers of the named parties in the action or proceeding, as well as a provision that each party may resume the use of his or her premarriage surname or any other former surname.
In any New York State Judgment of Divorce, there will be a provision stating:
Ordered and Adjudged that (plaintiff) (defendant) is authorized to resume the use of her maiden name or other former surname, to wit _________(prior surname)