Marriage requires a person to make some sacrifices. After getting married, some individuals even give up their last names. But, when a marriage ends in divorce, it might make sense to reclaim your own name.

After a divorce, some go back to a maiden name, while others choose an altogether new name. But before you decide once and for all to forgo your former spouse’s name, you should take into account some of the potential drawbacks. For example, having a last name that is different from the last name of your children can be confusing and might even cause an unnecessary delay in an emergency (some parents solve this problem by changing the kids’ names as well). Changing your name will also mean a series of administrative tribulations.

If you have decided to change your name after getting divorced, you need to inform everyone — everyone — of the change. This includes, but is not limited to, family members, schools, doctors, postal service workers, insurance companies, professional associations and any organization you or your kids belong to. You may have to sit down with some of those most intimately involved with your family to explain the change and the reasons for your decision.

After you have contacted everyone, you should follow up. Has the change been recorded, and recorded correctly? Surprisingly often, organizations that are informed of a name change fail to actually amend their records, particularly if the name change request was not made in writing. In addition, if someone incorrectly addresses you by your old name, do not let it pass. Speak up, and politely, but firmly, make the correction.

When it comes to a potential name change after divorce, the most important thing is to put some serious thought into your decision, and then to stand by it. If you do this, you can adjust to the change more easily, and may even find that you develop a heightened level of confidence in the process.

Source: Huffington Post, “Should You Drop Your Ex’s Last Name After Divorce? 5 Things To Consider,” Lenore Skomal, July 27, 2014