Two and a half years after our divorce, my ex has met someone he is serious about. I kept my married last name to show my relation to our son - my ex and I have joint custody. The new girlfriend is uncomfortable that I didn't go back to my maiden name and has requested that I do so. Should I have to? - A.W., 28, Houston
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You don't have to change your name if you don't want to. Legally, it's your name. The new girlfriend doesn't like it? "Too bad/so sad," as my resident teen likes to say. The girlfriend, and possibly your ex, will grumble for a while, but they'll get over it.
This situation does raise a good question, however: What is in a name? Having the same name as your son makes it easier for people to send you a Christmas card, but other than that, it's not truly what connects you to him, or to any family member. And while it's certainly natural to want to share your son's name, down the road it might become a moot issue: If and when you remarry, are you going to tell your new beloved that you want to hang on to your ex-husband's last name?
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Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.
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