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Subject:  Re: keeping the ex's name after divorce Date:  1/23/2013  1:26 PM
Author:  impolite Number:  4738 of 5341

The question of whether or not it's ethical to keep a married name is...bizarre to me. So bizarre that when I first read the question, I thought "that doesn't make sense", so I didn't answer it.

I'm still thinking about it several days later, so I came back. Obviously something is bothering me about it, if I am still pondering it.

Here's why I think the question about whether or not keeping a married name is ethical doesn't even make enough sense to ask in the first place:

1) It's the person's name. Angie #1 couldn't accuse Angie #2 of being unethical just because Angie #1 came first.

2) The person who changed their name at marriage *chose* to take that name. Why in the world wouldn't they then get to choose whether or not to keep it? There's nothing inherently unethical in the process, either direction. (I'm purposely leaving out the debate about gender expcetations, because that's a whole 'nother sticky wicket, yes?)

Now as to how the person decides to 1) originally take a new name at marriage and then 2) decides whether or not to keep the name after a divorce, I can only offer my own reasonings for both.

When I married at the tender age of 20, I took his last name because:

- My mother had taken my father's name.

- I wasn't particularly attached to my maiden name, as I was young and was about to graduate college (I had my degree put in my maiden name, FWIW, because I felt I'd earned it under that name, even though I was about a month shy of finishing when I married). I didn't have an established career with that name.

- I have a very unique first name. IT is the one most people fixate on, and for my middle name I am named after my Godmother and it means an untold amount to me that I have her name, so the last name? Kind of a throw away at that point.

- I knew I'd give any children of the marriage his last name, matching seemed easier.

- His last name didn't have any particular bad connotations to it. Nice, solid, regular name. I wouldn't be associated with the Kardashians or the Unibomber when someone heard it, in other words.

The reasons I kept that last name at the time of the divorce:

- My children had that last name.

- There's a lot of paperwork involved in changing a name. It just seemed ridiculous to go through all that, for something that I still considered "minor" (all my reasons for changing it still applied - I wasn't particularly attached to my maiden name OR my married name, so <shrug>).

- I had the notion that I a) wanted to get married again someday - I hadn't soured of the institution entirely, so would likely be changing my name again ANYWAY (see previous: don't really care what my last name is) and