30 answers

Changing Your Name After Getting Married...

Ok, so I have a very strong compulsion to retain my maiden name after I'm married for 2 reasons. First in priority is that my son has both mine and his father's last names, which we did since we were not married when he was born. He has his first, middle, my last name, his father's last name. For general purposes, he goes by his father's last name, but he does know his full name, and that we share the first of the 2 last names. The second reason is that I am 37 and have grown rather attached to my name, not to mention I'm an only child of my father's.

All that said, I don't want to lessen the meaning of my marriage (I know, marriage is way more than a name), or to hurt my soon to be hubby by totally rejecting taking his name. SO, I'm thinking that I'll keep mine, and add his. Best of both worlds, I guess.

My question is, what do I have to do legally? Anything? If I don't do anything legal, can I just assume using my hubby's name in the times I want to, and continue to use my maiden name when I want? For instance, I might prefer to keep my maiden name at work for simplicity. But if I want to have checks made with both our names on them, can I use his last name there, if I haven't changed anything officially?

As you can see, I'm really confused by this. What reasons are there to do the name change officially, or are there any reasons to do it officially? Looking for some clarity on this...

Added: I don't want to hyphenate, but I would consider just adding my fiance's name to the end of my names, as in first, middle, my last, his last name, with no hyphen...

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

I just kept my name. My kids have my husbands name. People call me Mrs. Miller all the time, I answer to it. I just felt to old (at 31) to change my name... he didn't care one way or the other so that's what we did. My kids have a name, middle name, my last name, and then Miller.

Several of my friends also kept their names, and their kids have the husbands name.

J.

3 moms found this helpful

My aunt changed her maiden name to her middle name when she was married in her 30s. So she can sign first, maiden, married. It's a thought!

2 moms found this helpful

I know you don't want to hyphenate, but it is an option. My friend did this. Her children had her maiden name and their dad's last name. Then she had her maiden name and her new husband's last name. Just a thought...

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

When you go to fill out the change of name paperwork you just bring your marriage license and you just fill out all 4 names. That easy.

The 3 times in life it's super easy to change your name are birth, marriage, and divorce. In our state it's an automatic "grant" (aka you don't have to petition the courts, you just fill out the form at the SS office and show them your ID and marriage licence). Then you take the SS paperwork to your Department of licensing and get your drivers license changed.

I went from 3 names to 4 when I got married. Took 2 minutes (not including drive time). It only gets tricky IF you're changing the ORDER of your names. Don't ask why. The answer is longer than it deserves.

5 moms found this helpful

I just kept my name. My kids have my husbands name. People call me Mrs. Miller all the time, I answer to it. I just felt to old (at 31) to change my name... he didn't care one way or the other so that's what we did. My kids have a name, middle name, my last name, and then Miller.

Several of my friends also kept their names, and their kids have the husbands name.

J.

3 moms found this helpful

I love my maiden name and what it represents, and am deeply proud to carry it with me.

I did not change my name when I married. My daughter (born before her father and I were married) was given my husband's last name at birth. I've never shared a name with her. In my house of four people, we have three last names. Mine, my husband/daughter's and my nieces. We've never had any difficulty or confusion from not sharing our names.

Our bank account has both of our names on it, so that it matches with our ID. When his family writes us or refers to us, they do so as Mr. and Mrs. "his last name". Doesn't bother me. Legally I have my same name, and sometimes socially I have his. If you are planning to use his name for any reasons other than socially, I would suggest having your name legally changed to include his in some way. Here in Washington, it's a very simple process to change a name when getting married...but I'm not sure about PA. Seems as though bank accounts, work, taxes, etc. need a legal change in order to be recognized.

BTW, and most importantly, CONGRATULATIONS L.!!! I'm really excited for you!

2 moms found this helpful

You have to jump through hoops to do a name change - whether you retain your maiden name as part of your name or not. It is UNBELIEVABLE how much work it is when you are older, but it does make life easier. If you want to use his last name SOMETIMES, you may want to hyphenate. Pretty much as you were considering. Just be prepared to do the leg work - you'll need an officialy copy of the marriage certificate every time....

I actually retained my middle name and dropped my maiden name, but I use my maiden name when I please if it's not a legal issue (for example, I still sign paintings using my maiden name, just as I have been doing for 20+ years). But for checks - you have to use a LEGAL name.

By the way, I am not old fashioned and I had intended to hyphenate but I did that for a year before making it legal and decided was was just too hella long. And I was ready for an "identity change" anyway.

Plus, my husband was adopted and always wanted to feel more that he was part of the "McX" family - so now, he, I, and our children ARE the "McX" family. It was a gift I could give him. But he would have been OK with hyphenating too.

Well, that was rambly....I hope it was helpful....

(And yes, he acknowledged that wanting me to change my name was unfair).

2 moms found this helpful

For legal purposes, if you choose not to actually hyphenate or change your name you will not be able to use his last name as you feel with anything legal. Example, checks and your license, or forms that will be legally filed, your taxes. But if its for random things then I would say you can call yourself whatever you want

2 moms found this helpful

I've never changed mine and neither have a number of my friends. One of my friends actually ALWAYS uses her husband's name, but she's never gotten around to legally changing hers! I hyphenate mine with my husband's most of the time, but legally it's still just my maiden name. I used to tell him I was going to change it to the hyphenated version legally before our first child was born, but now we have two and it still hasn't happened, and I just don't have the time or desire to go hang out in the social security office for hours -so, I doubt I'll ever do it! I can't do it by mail or online because I lost my social security card over 20 years ago, so I have to have a new one of those made as well in order to not do it in person, so I'm screwed into a visit to the SS office either way and I just don't want to do that.

2 moms found this helpful

My aunt changed her maiden name to her middle name when she was married in her 30s. So she can sign first, maiden, married. It's a thought!

2 moms found this helpful

I kept my maiden name legally. Everyone at my work uses that name. However, when I am my husband's work social events, people call me by his last name and it's all good.

I think this is the easiest way to go - not changing anything legally, and socially I answer to either one.

Our checks do have different last names though, because the check usually needs to match your driver's license, and that is of course my legal (maiden) name.

My husband (then fiance) was surprised when I first told him that I didn't want to change my name. But he got used to the idea and was fine with it after he realized that of course my name had nothing to do with my commitment to our engagement, nor was it a reflection of my opinion of him in any way.

We've been married almost 13 years now, and it's never caused any kind of issue - legally or socially.

2 moms found this helpful

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