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."