If you’re following Kelly Clarkson’s impending divorce, you might know that she’s looking to reclaim her name — and that brings up a question for those who took a husband’s last name and would like to give it back.
According to a People story that ran last Thursday, Clarkson has asked to restore her last name amid her ongoing divorce from her estranged husband, Brandon Blackstock. The couple had the foresight to get a prenup agreement, which, the story said, a judge upheld — as Blackstock was contesting it.
TMZ noted “Kelly accumulated the lion’s share of assets, including the Montana ranch where Brandon is currently living. He was contesting the prenup and wanted their properties split, along with income she earned during their marriage, but the judge shut him down.”
Moving forward with the name that’s she’s professionally known as, as another story on the case noted, is something that her soon-to-be-ex isn’t fighting, and it’s something that judges will usually grant right away.
In the divorce cases we’ve handled in Texas, what typically happens is that a name change will be written into the final divorce decree. Since the decree is a legal document, it can be utilized as needed for name changes in the scenarios you’d most expect to apply them to — a driver’s license, a passport, or a social security card.
While it’s certainly possible to do what Clarkson did, and make a plea to the court, while a divorce is still being litigated, it’s not necessary to make the name change a separate process. It can certainly bring some sort of emotional benefit to someone who really wants a name change, but it will cost you a little more if you want to make it a separate process.
Conversely, though, there’s nothing in Texas law saying that you have to change your name if you do get divorced. If you decide to retain your married name after divorce for whatever reason, you’re legally entitled to do so. Some women choose to retain their ex-husbands’ names for professional reasons, and some want to keep the same last name that their children have. It doesn’t matter why — all that matters is that once you say, “I do,” you’ve earned the right to keep that name, and divorce doesn’t take that away.
Her divorce is raising other interesting questions — including what happens when a prenup is contested (even though the point of a prenup is to establish who gets what in the case of divorce at the outset), what happens when one spouse asks for custody of the children while the divorce is still in process (as Clarkson did), and what happens when a court orders a wealthier spouse to pay support to the less wealthy spouse while the divorce is pending, as is happening in Clarkson’s case.
And in the larger scheme of things, it’s a reminder that everyone comes into a divorce with a unique situation and with questions. They might not have the complexity of assets or the legal factors that Clarkson and Blackstock do, but regardless of how simple or complex your divorce might be, the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance has the expertise to manage your case. In high net worth divorces or high-conflict divorces, we can build a team best equipped to navigate it, and in our initial consultation process, we go beyond just getting acquainted and actually giving you a plan to move you toward settling your divorce.