Today I want to talk about the choice of changing your name after marriage.
I have been married since October 2015 and I still haven’t changed my name. I still haven’t 100% decided whether I want to or not. This isn’t because I dislike my husband’s surname. I actually am quite fond of it (plus it’s an unusual spelling of a common name which is even better).
I just really like my maiden name.
And plus, it’s, you know, my name. The one my parents chose to give me when I was born 32 years ago. On one hand, my inner feminist in me is telling me to keep it because of this very reason. On the other hand, there is something romantic and ‘nice’ about having the same name as your husband/ wife.
Everyone I talk to about this has an opinion on this subject. Women keeping their maiden name or double barreling is becoming increasingly common. As is men taking on their new wife’s surname. Having said that, out of all of my heterosexual married friends only one of them has kept her maiden surname by double-barreling with her husband’s.
Taking your Husband’s Name
Women have been taking their husband’s surname with marriage for centuries. Most women I speak to who have taken their husband’s surname have done so without a moment’s thought. Some actually couldn’t wait to get rid of their maiden name. To most, it shows that they have become united in marriage. One unit, one family.
Keeping Your Maiden Name
For some women, keeping their maiden name is a no brainer. It is their identity. A name they have had their entire lives. Why are women expected to give up their surname when married?
Whatever way you look at it, changing your name is a big deal.
My husband is very supportive with whatever I decide to do. He doesn’t mind that I haven’t changed my surname. He says he wouldn’t mind if I keep my maiden name forever. However, when I asked him once if he would be willing to take my surname or double barrel with it, it was out of the question. No way. He doesn’t want to. He would be the laughing stock amongst his mates and his family.
My parent’s, family and some friends however, have taken to calling me by what would be my married name. Despite telling them my views on the situation and that I haven’t changed my name. I am still having mail addressed with my husband’s surname on.
It is a shame that society still has this view on surname changes. We as women have come a long way over the last 50 years. We have won the right to vote, we are being recognised in sport more (with women’s football getting bigger every season) and in most industries, we are being offered jobs that past generations only dreamt about.
The Options and How To Action Them
In conclusion, it’s entirely up to you what you decide. We all have opinions, but ultimately it’s up to us as individuals to decide what is best for us and not do what is expected by the masses. With that in mind, to make the process a little easier, I have listed all of the information below to help you out.
Double Barrel Surname Option
If you wish to double barrel and add your partners name to your own, it’s very straight forward. You can go about your married name change as usual. If it’s clear where both of the names derive from then there is no need to use a deed poll to change your name. For instance, if your surname was Jones and your partner’s name is Smith then you could double barrel as either Jones-Smith or Smith Jones.
Creating a new word for your Surname
If you and your partner would like to combine your surnames to create a brand new one then this will count as a new surname. Because of this, it will have to be done through a deed poll. Both of you will have to make a deed poll application for this. As an example, Dawn Porter married Chris O’Dowd and changed her name to Dawn O’Porter. This is a brand new surname and not seen as a double barrel.
Keeping your Maiden Name as your new middle name
Taking on your partner’s surname, but using your maiden name as a middle name. This is seen as creating a new name for yourself so, again, this means that you will need to use a deed poll to officially change your name.
For more information on changing your surname check out the UK Deed Poll website.
Whatever you decide to do with your surname it will be the right decision. I’d love to know your opinion on this. Leave me a comment or Tweet me and let me know your thoughts.