Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Women, Don't Change Your Names

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I had a client come to see me about changing her name. It seems that when she got married, her wrong middle initial was listed on her wedding license. Then when she got divorced, her correct initial was used on her divorce decree. This happened many years ago. It didn't seem like a major problem until lately.

When she moved back to Indiana from another state and went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get her license, she couldn't get one because all her documentation didn't match. In this state, when the new rules regarding getting a license/i.d. card went into affect (because of terrorism, doncha know), women had to begin proving how and why they'd used each name....that usually means marriage licenses and divorce papers if they took their previous name back.

My client didn't need a complete legal name change, she simply required a correction on her wedding license. She contacted the State and was told that was impossible. "Too bad, so sad," the BMV shrugged its shoulders.

I certainly had no idea what to tell her and neither did any of the attorneys I asked. "There must be a way," they said. Well, yeah, probably, but what is that way?

As far as I know, she still doesn't have a license.

I know another woman who lived with a man in a common-law relationship for several years and used his name. She now has no documentation to show the BMV how that name came about in order to get a new license. We think the license bureau may accept an affidavit in place of a marriage license.

When my mother quit driving and let her license expire, she forgot she'd need an i.d. card to vote. She had to send for her birth certificate (Illinois, 1919) and her wedding license (Arizona 1938). She was 90 then. She'd not have had a clue how to accomplish this if I had not done it for her.

Men have no problem. They are who they are all their lives. Go to the license bureau, show your birth certificate. Voila, done deal! But for women, in many cases, it is a different and much more complicated story, one that the legislators (mostly males) don't understand....or if they do understand, they don't care.

My advice to women is: don't change your names. Keep the one you were born with like men, no matter how many times you marry. It may save you problems in the years ahead.