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Are you legally required to change your last name once you get remarried?

thats not my nameI recently had a childhood friend text me asking if she could ask me a legal question. That’s a common request as a lawyer, all your friends need legal advice. So I told her “sure, but I may not know the answer.” Her question was whether her fiancé’s ex-wife had to legally change her last name since she was now remarried. That I did know the answer to.

Women have traditionally changed their last names when they get married. It’s just the way it is. There are plenty of reasons why they do and why they don’t. I won’t go into them. But I will say it is not a legal requirement. The man can take the woman’s last name, as Zoe Saldana’s husband did, or both people can change to a whole new name if they want. Or no one can change their name. I mean who wants to go through the hassle of updating your credit cards, your driver’s license, your passport, your social security number, etc.

My friend was a little disappointed to hear this as I assume she didn’t like the idea that her future husband’s ex-wife was still sporting his last name. I mean if the ex’s new husband doesn’t care that she hasn’t changed her name then who really cares? So just know, you are not legally required to change your last name when you marry, remarry, or divorce.

 

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