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Changing your name: how it plays a role in marriage and divorce

When you get married or file for divorce, there is a chance that changing your name will be a topic of conversation. If you changed your name after saying "I do" or if you are changing your name after you and your spouse decided to say "goodbye," then it is important to go about the process quickly and effectively to ensure that you don't suffer any problems in relation to your life and your name.

Let us clarify that last statement a bit. When you change your name, there are many identifying elements that need to change with it. Your driver's license; your affiliation with the Social Security Administration; your interactions with the Internal Revenue Service; your accounts with a variety of entities, such as your insurers, your credit card companies, your banks; all of these things must change and adapt to reflect your new name.

Imagine that you are filing your taxes for the first time as married man or woman. Your joint filing has its benefits, but you also want it to reflect your name -- otherwise the IRS may not know who you are or be unable to link your name to the Social Security number that you provide. This can lead to tax problems. Similarly, if you divorce, a change in your name could lead to problems with your tax filing if you don't go about the process properly.

If you are worried about what your name change means for you and how to even go about the process, then you should consult with a family law attorney, regardless of whether it is in relation to a divorce or a new marriage.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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Barrington, IL 60010

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