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Wheaton divorce lawyerWhen a couple gets married, the woman often takes her husband’s last name. The tradition of married surnames dates back to the 12th century. However, many people think this is sexist, or at least outdated, since the idea was common when women were considered men’s “property.” In some cases, a wife may hyphenate her maiden name with her new married name. In same-sex marriages, each spouse may opt to keep his or her own last name, both spouses could hyphenate, or the couple could choose one of the spouse’s surname for both to use. A growing trend in marriages these days even involves a husband taking his wife’s last name. 

Regardless of which name is ultimately chosen after the wedding, important documents are typically changed to reflect the legal union, such as Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, mortgage or vehicle loans or titles, and more. So what happens to the last names when a couple gets divorced? Can a spouse change back to his or her birth name? Can a child’s last name be changed after the divorce? It is important to know that in 2020, the Illinois law regarding name changes will be slightly different than it was in the past.  

Legally Changing Names

During the divorce proceedings, it can be a fairly simple process to legally change back to your maiden name, birth name, or previous legal name with the help of an experienced attorney. However, it is also possible to change it after the final divorce decree is issued. 

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