What’s in a Name?


Image by pakorn from freedigitalphotos.net

Image by pakorn from freedigitalphotos.net

We have polls for everything, right? This is your chance to help me make a decision. You can read my thoughts about the question and then scroll to the bottom to vote.

I cannot decide what I’m going to do with my last name in January when my divorce is final. Should I keep my married name (Lee), switch back to my maiden name (Vaughn) or go for something completely different, like taking my mom’s family name (Holloway)?

 Lee

Pros:

  • It’s been my name for 13 years, and I’m used to it.
  • Most of my writing credits (and they’re oh so numerous, LOL) are as “Jacqueline Lee.”
  • It’s the same name that my sons have, so their teachers don’t have to get in the habit of calling me by a different name.
  • No switching names on driver’s license, Social Security card, etc.

Cons:

  • I will no longer be married to that guy as of January 15, so isn’t some kind of change in order?
  • I would probably be stuck with that name as a writing credit for a long time, even if I remarry someday. It would never go away.

 Vaughn

Pros:

  • It’s a strong step toward a changed identity.
  • The change could demonstrate independence after an unhappy time.

Cons:

  • It’s inconvenient to change all of my ID cards and my bank accounts to reflect a new name.
  • Jackie Vaughn is a stranger to me. I’ve changed so much that being Jackie Vaughn again seems like a step backward in some ways.
  • It’s tedious to remind everyone in my sons’ social sphere that I’m not Mrs. Lee.

 Holloway

Pros:

  • My mom raised me, and I’m much closer to that side of my family.
  • “Jacqueline Holloway” sounds kind of pretentious and important, doesn’t it?
  • It’s a real fresh start. It’s a change that doesn’t feel like a step backward.

Cons:

  • Again, it’s inconvenient.
  • Changing my name to “Holloway” feels like an unusual thing to do, and I am not a person that colors outside of the lines very easily.

Vote Now!

Thanks for voting! Also, leave a comment if you have any advice based on your own experience or the experiences of people in your life.

5 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Karen says:

    After my first divorce I considered dropping all last names and changing my name to Karen Renae (my given first and middle names) and just having two names. I was too far changed as a person to go back to my maiden name, and I didn’t want to keep my ex-husband’s name. I realized that people would call me Ms. Renae but that didn’t bother me. Then I ended up marrying my second husband so problem solved.

  2. Jan Cunningham says:

    How about Jackie Vaughn Lee like your Facebook name? Wouldn’t require changing anything legally, would acknowledge both parts of your past, would be simpler to explain to your children’s teachers and friends, and you wouldn’t totally feel like you were changing your identity AGAIN when you remarry. Just my thoughts. Love you, Jackie.

  3. At the time I divorced, I decided to keep my ex-husband’s name for all the reasons you cited. However, when I felt more confident and recovered a year or so later, I really wanted a changed identity and my sons didn’t care either way. I learned, to my dismay, that a name change, even back to one’s maiden name, is a long, tedious process (it took me 18 months). If I had changed it at the time of the divorce, it would have been easy and quick and painless. My advice is to be sure that whatever name you decide on, make a commitment to it and don’t try to make a change later.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jackie, I kept my ex’s name for the simplicity of not having to explain my last name was different from my children…. and was still often asked if they had the same father. My maiden name is Osowiecki…. a much more difficult name for people to say and spell…. but I kept Martin and I made it mine, even though it wasn’t mine to begin with. I think you should do what really feels best to you…. Hugs, Jeanne

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