Are You Still Mrs. After Divorce? [Changing Your Name After Separation]

After a divorce, are you still considered a “Mrs.”? Today, it is acceptable for divorced women to choose the title they prefer- Ms. Mrs. or Ms. Many divorced women prefer to keep their married name and still get addressed as “Mrs.” In a gender-equal, modern society, marital status behind social titles has primarily lost its traditional meaning.

Addressing a man, young, old, married, or unmarried, holds no confusion since men will always be titled “Mr.” (Mister). Complications, however, exist for addressing women. Women get addressed according to their marital status. Confusion arises when the marriage status of the female is unknown or if a change in marital status occurs. Do divorced women stay “Mrs.”, or do they become “Miss” or “Ms.”?

Using the correct title to address someone is seen as a respectful gesture. In contrast, addressing a woman by the wrong title might cause a feeling of disrespect or make them feel uncomfortable. What are the traditional “rules” for female social titles? Am I still Mrs. After Divorce? Why would someone prefer the title Mrs., and what about legal documents? Rest assured, your answers are only a scroll away.

a "mrs." woman taking off wedding ring after divorce

Related Reading: Husband Wants to Still Be Together After Divorce?

Can I Stay “Mrs.” After I Get Divorced?

The traditional framework for social labels is still the primary determinant in choosing the correct title to address a female. It would be socially frowned upon if a 12-year-old, unmarried girl gets addressed as “Mrs.” or a 60-year-old woman who has been married for thirty years gets called “Miss.” It can also come forward as disrespectful when addressing a non-binary individual as anything other than “Mx.”.

Traditionally speaking, the correct way to address an unmarried woman is by the title “Miss,” unless they want to keep their marital status anonymous. Therefore, according to this rule, a divorced woman is wrongly addressed as “Mrs.”. There is much more flexibility when choosing your label in modern times, and the divisions between these titles aren’t as concrete as they used to be.

Today, it is socially accepted and extremely common for women to stick to “Mrs.” after getting divorced. Divorced women often prefer to be addressed as “Mrs.” after deciding to keep her married name. Thus, there is a grey area for this category of women, but it all comes down to personal preference.

In short, it is generally accepted that a divorced woman has the choice to retain her social title as “Mrs.” or can choose to be addressed instead as “Ms.”. “Miss” would not be wrong according to traditional guidelines, yet middle-aged and elderly women often feel that it feels immature and therefore refrain from using it.

When Do I Use Mrs., Miss, Ms., or Mx.?

The correct use of the prefix “Miss” is when addressing girls under eighteen and single women younger than thirty years old. Although it is not wrong to address a more senior, unmarried lady as “miss,” many women tend to avoid this title because of the immature connection.

Traditionally, the correct way to address a married woman is by “Mrs.”. The address of married women as “Mrs.” originated during a time when “Mrs.” accompanied the husband’s title, for example, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Parker. Still, this way of addressing married women has since faded as women’s empowerment, and independence grew.

Some women in modern societies prefer to keep their surname, yet they still get referred to as “Mrs.”. It is also not uncommon for divorced women to keep their divorced husbands’ last names and therefore stick with “Mrs.”. In the same way, widowers often prefer to remain “Mrs.” as a symbol of respect for their deceased partners.

When in doubt whether a woman is married or not, “Ms” is an appropriate way to address both married and unmarried women. This neutral form of addressing set foot in the 1950s when women asserted that society should acknowledge females for more than just their marital status.

In 2017, a new social title, “Mx,” was added. “Mx” is used to correctly address individuals who do not identify with the male or the female gender. When addressing someone who does identify with one of the genders, but their preferred title is unknown to the addresser, “Mx” is also appropriate.

Why Would I Want To Stay “Mrs.” After I Got Divorced?

As previously mentioned, the social title of a divorced woman depends on her preference regarding keeping her married name or taking on her maiden name again after finalizing the divorce. When a female decides to change her last name back to her maiden name, she becomes “miss (maiden name),” but many women prefer to stick to “Mrs. (married name)” for various reasons.

Women tend to stick with “Mrs. (married name)” because she wants to continue to share a surname with their children. Having a different surname than your children, many mothers feel like disconnecting from them. Women also tend to simplify school-related admin, documentation, and situations regarding authority by sticking to “Mrs. (married name).”

Some women keep their married name and social title “Mrs.” so they do not have to go through the efforts associated with queues, payments, and a surname change back to a maiden name. Others base their decision on what is more straightforward and feel right. It is important to note that anyone is entitled to choose the title that makes them feel the most comfortable. If you are unsure of someone’s preferred title, it won’t hurt to ask.

Should I Complete Legal Documents When I Change My Social Title?

Since it is relatively common for individuals to prefer to be addressed differently in different environments, it would make sense that no legal documentation is needed to change your social title. A lecturer might like being addressed as “Ms.” by her students to whom she prefers not to disclose her marriage status, yet her colleagues address her as “Mrs.” because they know that she is married.

There is, therefore, no need for documentation if you change from the use of Mrs. Jones to Ms. Jones or Miss Williams to Mx. Williams. You are thus free to use the title you prefer and to change your label if you wish. However, consistency might help avoid confusion and the possibility of an uncomfortable encounter.

It is only necessary to complete legal documents when your title change is associated with changing your surname, thus when adopting your husband’s surname, or divorcing and taking back your maiden name. In other words, if you, as Mrs. Smith (maiden name: Miller), want to change back to Miss Miller, legal documentation is required.

Related Reading: Is Remarriage After Divorce Always Adultery?


Although traditional modes of prefix-allocation still form the basis of which social titles are assigned to different categories of people today, modern society has adapted to a more flexible, integrated, and inclusive system. Social titles have become less concerned with marital status and allow much more room for personal preference.

In the case of divorced women, there exists a general acceptance that they can stick to the title of their preference. Whether she decides to keep her married name and remain “Mrs.” or break down all association with her ex-husband by taking back her maiden name and the title “Miss” or “Ms.” is all up to her and cannot be prescribed by anyone other than herself.

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