The Name Change Game: Divorcees Happier, Brides Not the Same


The Name Change Game: Divorcees Happier, Brides Not the Same

MELBOURNE, April 2013

Easy Name Change’s annual survey reveals that name change is a disconnect for brides, but a reconnect for divorcees. Almost 80% of brides change names, and most within a few months, but it doesn’t make them happier. In contrast, divorcees are happier, more confident and have an improved sense of identity when reverting to their prior name. These positive outcomes are achieved regardless of age, time married or time divorced; however, years may lapse before reclaiming their name.

Emotionally, changing names does little for a bride. Only 20% of brides said changing names made them happier. It’s then of little surprise that 18% said it gave them an improved sense of identity. Confidence scored even lower, with only 10% reporting an increase in confidence post-name change.

With little positive outcomes after changing names, why are more brides rushing to make the switch versus prior years? Director at, Genevieve Dennis, sheds some light; ‘Fewer women are getting married, and many have seen their own parents’ marriages fail. Those that make it down the aisle are more determined than ever to make it work. Changing names is a way of showing commitment to their new family.’

Clearly, changing names isn’t done for self-serving reasons, with happiness, confidence and identity all taking a hit. The Easy Name Change survey found the biggest motivation comes from ‘wanting the whole family to have the same name’, closely followed by ‘as a commitment to my new family’. Tradition and ritual are also strong motivators.

Name Change plays a significantly different role for women post-divorce. An overwhelming 88% agreed or strongly agreed that changing names post-divorce made them happier and gave them an improved sense of identity. Confidence also improved for 77% of respondents.

The reasons why divorcees change names aren’t as clear-cut as for marriage. A third simply identifies more with their maiden name. A quarter doesn’t want any association with their spouse’s name. Time seems to play no part in forming an attachment to a married name. The median age for Divorce name change is 49, and the median time to be known by a married name is 19 years. In fact, almost 20% of divorcees changing names had been known by their married name for over 30 years.

‘It’s no surprise older women delay divorce name change by 10 or more years. Mums like to have the same name as their children while they are at school’ says Dennis. ‘The third strongest rationale for divorcees to make the change is because their children have grown up.’

Divorcees feel little loss when ditching their ex-husband’s name – over 80% felt none. While brides have the happiest times of their lives, almost 40% feel some loss for their maiden name, and changing names doesn’t make them happier, more confident or improve their identity. Perhaps this is all because all women have a strong bond to their maiden name, even if decades have passed since they used it.

Easy Name Change’s annual survey explores who changes names and why. It polls people changing names from marriage, divorce and legally, including their motivating factors and demographics. The survey has run annually since 2010.


Easy Name Change

[email protected]

Genevieve Dennis, Director

03 9015 7699

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