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Potentially with material implications: the family name in a divorce

A family law writer addressing a somewhat singular though potentially important consideration in a divorce proceeding calls it “the one elephant in the room no one thinks about until it’s a problem.”

And that is this: the last name a couple shared during marriage.

What happens if a soon-to-be former wife insists on keeping the husband’s family name that she shared when they were together?

Is that a problem? Can a divorcing husband stop an impending ex-wife from insisting on that right?

Columnist Sabrina Maddeaux quickly offers up this bit of advice to a husband in such a case who is flat-out unhappy with the prospect: “[P]our yourself a stiff martini” and simply deal with the consequences.

Because there is often very little that can be done to prevent such an outcome.

That is, a divorcing party has a legal right to keep the name. And, as Maddeaux notes, a woman might want to do so for one or myriad reasons.

Maybe she has simply concluded that it is the easiest and most efficient thing to do. Perhaps she doesn’t want to have a different last name than her children.

And then there’s distinct possibility, especially in a marriage that was high-profile and marked by a significant amount of wealth: Retaining that last name could be valuable. As Maddeaux properly points out, it often comes “with an inherent sense of power, money and public recognition.”

And, understandably, that can be hard to give up. Consider this tradeoff: Kardashian or Smith.

Ultimately, a family name might in many cases simply become one more asset/bargaining chip that is ripe for discussion during divorce negotiations. Questions or concerns regarding that subject matter or any other topic that might reasonably feature in a high-asset divorce can be directed to a proven family law attorney who routinely represents diverse clientele in divorce-related matters.

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