Thursday, March 1, 2012

Changing Your Name after Divorce

"I'm on my third name," I explained to the attorney. "The form says I have never been known by any other name." He laughed and told me to add a hand-written a note. That I shouldn't worry. Forms contain vestiges of old concerns. "They're not after you," he said.

"I'll have to strike out the 'M,'" the notary said. "Your California Driver's license doesn't have a middle initial."

"Right," I said. "I dropped the 'M' after my divorce. And before I had just an 'M,' my middle name was Mary. I dropped the Mary and went with 'M.' Now there's no M. either." I didn't mention the last names I've been through.

"These forms have an 'M'," he said, pausing with his notary stamp raised. I shrugged, feeling like I was trying to conceal a vestigial tail.

"How should I sign?" I asked.

"Sign with your current legal signature," he said. "It's your mark. Never change your mark."

Easy for him to say.
Marriage changed my mark. Divorce changed my mark.
Just call me "Mark."


Birdie said...

That is one of the hardest things about being a woman. My first name belonged to my biological father and his father. Both were not nice men.

Then I got married and because Mrs. At the time I had my head in the clouds and thought that being a Mrs. would be wonderful.

Now I am living with a man (and we are having a lot of problems). Even if we were happy I don't want to become another Mrs.

I just want to be Barbara May. My grandmother's name and my mom's name.

Jules said...

What an amazing time and place in which we live. We can morph into any form we choose creating our newest identity as easily as we buy and sell a car or start a new LLC, or change the name of an old one.

Elizabeth said...

For a brief time I took the first husband's name but I distinctly remember that anytime someone called me Mrs. P, I startled and saw the name more as a cartoon-like appendage, a bubble. I still remember the hassle, though, when I divorced and changed it back to my maiden name. Every now and then I'm irritated to be called by my husband's name (also my sons'), but I pretend not to be so and don't correct people. I think the older I get, the more secure I am in my birth-name --

janzi said...

Well, I have to say you write so well, and its clearly been a very hard road for you to travel even if you seem to be coming out into the light a little further along. I too was divorced, but haven't had all the pains and difficulties that you have encountered. We had five children together and it got too hard to stay , but now after almost 25 years we are easy with each other and despite me marrying again, he attends family re unions and everyone gets along. I do hope you can get some peace in the future and don't have much more pain to deal with. You have a very wry sense of humour which I am sure gets you through most of the stupid things that get thrown at you.. All the best, and have a great weekend.. its sunny here in Derbyshire UK** Janzi

Ms. Moon said...

I didn't really know my father whose surname I had and what I did know of him didn't make me very happy. I did take my first husband's name but changed back to my "maiden" (haha!) name after the divorce. But then along came Mr. Moon. Not even in my dreams had I imagined a man like that and I loved his daddy and mama and so when we got married, I took his name. Mary Moon. Ironically, I am sure that people think I made that up.

Wrinkling Daily said...

To Ms. Moon, I love your name and love reading some of your comments. To "Mark", I went back to my maiden name because there was no way I could keep his any longer, it wasn't who I was. I took back my maiden name, but I wasn't her anymore either. Strange mess this Divorceville can be. To Elizabeth, I feel the same way when some of my kids friends call me by my old married name, but they don't know it nauseates me, how could they? So I just try to let it zip right on by too.
Thanks Denise for making me laugh with this one.

Mark said...

It will be better to avail the online services of legal name change, as it will solve all the difficulties coming in the process of name change. Hope this could help you.