What's in a Name?

How to decide if you should take on his moniker, keep your own...or do something in between

Are you planning to love, honor, cherish…and take his name? Here are a few things to consider before making the big switch.

On the Job

Worried about the confusion a name change might cause at work? If you feel strongly that your maiden name is tied in with your professional identity, then you might opt not to make the change. Or, you could go the Clark Kent route and keep one identity by day (your maiden name) and another by night (your married name).

The third option is to just go ahead and change it. Of course, until your new moniker really sinks in, people will probably forget and continue to use your maiden name, at least for a while. (But don't worry—they'll catch on!)

Family Matters

If you decide to keep your name and you plan to have children someday, how will you feel about having a different last name from the rest of your crew? If this would bother you, and changing your name would create a stronger sense of family for you, then go for it. However, if you opt to keep your maiden name, rest assured that households with two last names are quite common these days.

Options Galore

Consider all your choices. You can:

  • Pass your maiden name on. If you decide to switch, use your maiden name as your first child's middle name.
  • Have it all. Use a hyphen to link your name with your hubby's.
  • Call in a sub. Take the traditional path, but use your maiden name as your middle name.
  • Get creative. Try combining part of your last name with part of his and see what you can come up with.
  • Be ultramodern. It might be a long shot, but what if your husband took your last name? It couldn't hurt to ask.
Making It Legit

If you decide to nab your husband's name, saying "I do" does not make it official. First, you have to receive your certified certificate of marriage registration in the mail. This usually takes about two weeks after the wedding to arrive. A certificate of marriage registration is considered a legal document, and you can use it to change your name.

If you opt for something a little different, like creating a new last name, you will most likely have to fill out a name-change packet in addition to a marriage application.

Unfortunately, it's not such a modern world out there, and a certificate of marriage registration usually just gives you the right to change your name to your husband's. Once you complete the additional paperwork, a judge will decide whether or not to grant your name change, and issue a final judgment of name change.

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