The Name Change

There are two common questions one receives shortly after getting married. The first is, “Are you going to change your name?” and the second is, “When are you going to have kids?”. Actually, I was asked both of those questions months before we got married, but that’s beside the point.

Ignore the winter man hands, please...

Ignore the winter man hands, please…Just focus on the pretty rings.

The name issue has been on my mind a lot lately. Why? Well, my passport expires in 1 month. So I either do the easy renewal process and keep my name for the next X years, or I do the full application now (as in, “I’ve never had a passport before” kind of application). After, of course, changing my driver’s license, care card and sin card. Can I get all that done in a month? Not likely.

In an ideal world, I’d change my name to use both last names. But that requires a full legal name change. Which is expensive, and requires surrendering my birth certificate. It means I have to give up my last name retroactively. And more than anything else, that bothers me. I did not spend my whole life waiting for this marriage, and it is just one part of my life. But I either have to give up my past, or keep my last name and have multiple last names in our little family, or take his last name now. What kind of choices are those?

It’s time for a change, oh big government. It’s time for people to be able to easily use both legal names after marriage. Also, it’s time for you to have a unified government body to help us with these changes, because honestly it’s looking like at least 6 months to get all this done. Not too excited about that.

I’m not left with many choices. I have 2 priorities here: one is to share at least half of my last name with my husband and future children, and the other is to not waste a year of my life and give up a big chunk of my past to do so.

Currently, I am inclined to legally take my husbands name, and in all non-official capacities, use both last names. But I must admit, half of me just wants to keep my last name because I don’t want to go through the gigantic hassle of changing it. However, the other half of me knows that isn’t a good enough reason not to do it.

Wish me luck?

Did you or your spouse change your name after marriage? Why or why not?

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13 thoughts on “The Name Change

  1. You have written about a subject dear to my heart! I didn’t change my name when we married nearly 8 years ago. I’d been me with my name for 34 years and changing wasn’t an option. He was not in the slightest bit phased by this luckily as I didn’t talk it over with him, I just announced that was what was happening! We agreed that if we had children that they would have both surnames. What is interesting about the whole name change thing is that here in the UK you opt in to a name change, not out. You can of course take your husband’s name, and that is your choice, but it isn’t legally required. This is a common mistake as people assume it happens automatically. No, it’s opt-in. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to find this out as I researched it because my husband’s ex-wife told his son I was wrong not to use his name… Turns out my legal name is the one I was given at birth. I could legally change it but even if I wanted to I couldn’t face the hassle! Best wishes for whatever you decide. I used to feel I couldn’t change it because I wasn’t buying into the whole patriarchal name thing. Til my husband pointed out that my surname was my father’s! Now it’s more about identity and who I am. Anyway, I’ll close this by saying having different surnames hasn’t made a jot of difference to us; we’ve still had to work hard at our marriage, to communicate, to deal with difficult times, but mostly to learn to communicate! X

    • It is such a complicated issue and (HUGE HASSLE)! I am hesitant to give future children both names as feel like I’d be putting the child in a predicament when they decide to get married. There really isn’t a perfect solution! Thank you for sharing your experience, I like hearing the different sides!

  2. I went through the same internal struggle. It was really hard for me to think of taking on a whole new identity but in the end, I knew I wanted to share a last name with my kids just like my parents did. I will vouch for the fact that it takes months. I thought I covered all of my bases (except the passport) only to realize that for 27 years, I had left a trail with a different last name that would be following me around for a while. Just try to remember that a name doesn’t define who you are. Good luck!

    • Yes, I am with you on the sharing last name with spouse and kids. I am not looking forward to all the name changes required if I do go that route…At this point I’m tempted to just change my name non-professionally and leave it at that, sigh.

  3. I use my husband’s last name. It’s the norm out here. After signing the marriage contract, I used it right away and use my maiden name as a middle initial. When I had to get new IDs I just showed our marriage certificate and birth certificate and they issued new ones. Some women I know use their maiden and married name like Mrs. Jane Doe – Jones.

  4. As I am as old as dirt, it never occurred to me to keep my maiden name, “Orr.” Although you have no idea how sad I was to give up my “I’m related to Bobby Orr” followed by, “Of course you can buy me a drink!” My new daughter-in-law has kept hers so far. Not sure what will happen when they have kids. Good luck! 🙂

  5. I gave mine up when I married. I think it is a personal choice (as is most of life) and I felt that if I was going to do the deed, I would change my last name. I don’t remember it being a huge hassle, had to go down to soc sec office with my SSC, birth cert, DL and marriage certificate. I had to surrender my soc sec card, which i didn’t like, but whatev. This late in life i am a fight the battle you can win, kind of gal, lol.
    your rings are beautiful, i love that they are not the same old thing. and congrats!!

  6. […] It took me quite a while to realize that changing my name really wasn’t what I wanted. Since I spent over a year trying to convince myself that it was […]

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