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Regaining Your Maiden Name After Divorce
During the divorce process, all parties involved have to make difficult decisions, compromises, and concessions. Women, however, have a unique and complex decision to make during the process, the decision to restore their maiden name.
Many women have built their careers using their married name or prefer to have the same last name as their children and are unsure if they want to or should change it. Even then, changing their last name is not typically the first thing that crosses women's minds during a divorce. Dividing assets, determining custody, and simply reconciling the fact that the marriage is ending often take precedence.
Still, the timing of the decision is important and putting it on the back burner can be costly. In the state of Florida, women have the option to regain their maiden name for free as long as their divorce case is open. After it closes, the law does not differentiate between a new name and restoring a maiden name, resulting in a $400 charge to change it. There is also the option to pay $50 to petition to reopen the divorce case, but it is subject to a judge's discretion whether or not the petition is recognized.
Regardless of the fee, changing your name is a decision that requires a lot of thought and clarity. Don't make the decision rashly or under distress to save $400. If you are unsure about it, take your time and carefully weigh your options. The hassle and cost of restoring your maiden name down the road are worth not making a decision you may regret.
Florida requires an equitable distribution of the marital property (what is fair, not necessarily equal). Each spouse keeps the property and debts that belonged to them before the marriage. Each spouse also keeps any property received as a gift or inheritance, or any property that the spouses agree to divide in a written agreement. Any property that was acquired before the spouses married or that was received as a gift or inheritance is not considered marital property. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, a court will divide the property and the debt.
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