changing name with marriage...?

Katlynn - posted on 11/15/2010 ( 53 moms have responded )

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Me and my boy friend are talking about the possibility of marriage (he is not my daughters father) He is very set that if we are to get married he will only do it if i change my last name (and isnt up for the idea of me hyphenating it either). I am wondering are there any major complications out there if i was to go through with changing my name away from the same last name as my daughter and what peoples opinions are on doing so... The idea of him adopting her isnt available because even though her father isnt around he refuses to sign away his parental right so that he could do so...

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Krista - posted on 11/16/2010

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I can't tell you what to do, but I CAN tell you what I think:

Your daughter is already going through the difficulty of knowing that her father isn't around. To her, that is a rejection.

How do you honestly think it'll make her feel if you change your last name so that it is different from hers, because some johnny-come-lately boyfriend is forcing you to do it so that he'll marry you?

I think that your boyfriend is being very inflexible.

I changed my name when my husband and I married, but it was for my own reasons. He made it very clear that he did not expect it in any way, shape or form. I would think long and hard about marrying this man if he is proving to be this inflexible and controlling this early on in the game.

Just as an aside: a friend of mine moved to Australia to be with her man. Because she gave up so much to be with him, he took HER name when they married. I thought that was pretty cool.

Now, on to Sherri's comment. Sherri, I will try to explain why people are offended by your comment:

It really makes it not appear as there is even a family there.

That was really insulting. There are lots and lots of very solid, tight-knit, strong families where the parents have two different last names (such as, oh, EVERY family in Quebec), and it just sounds very smug and judgmental of you to say that they don't even seem like a family.

I know that professionals cringe when they have to ask does your child have the same last name as you because it irks me to no end.

Those poor, delicate flowers. If they get their panties in that much of a twist over having to ask a simple, 10-syllable question, then they're not very "professional" after all, are they?

I have said it is sad you have to ask that and they all look away and say I know it is awful.

Seriously? This is a big tragedy that you and these professionals are weeping about? That married couples sometimes don't have the same last name?

Ye gods.

Stifler's - posted on 11/16/2010

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I agree he shouldn't place conditions on your name change.. what do you want? Do you want to keep your name? There's nothing wrong with her having a different name to you either I know heaps of people who have their maiden name/new partners last name after a divorce/remarriage and their kids still have the dad's last name.

Tara - posted on 09/10/2011

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If my husband had made taking his last name a condition of marrying him, we wouldn't be married.

Honestly, him giving you that kind of ultimatum and not being willing to budge in any way on it even before you get married sends up a huge red flag for me.

I took my husband's name when we got married because I wanted to. He was willing to have me hyphenate it or even take my last name if I had an issue with taking his.

His brother got married a few months after we did and took his wife's last name.

All I had to change when I got married was my driver's license - I am technically supposed to change the name on my social insurance card (I'm Canadian) but no one has made an issue of it.

My sister kept her maiden name when she got married because all of her business information (incorporation of the business, business cards, letterhead, etc) is in her maiden name and changing it would be a pain.

As for your daughter having to change her name - I would look into what is necessary legally in your area - but again, the fact that he wants to pretty much force the issue is something that would make me tell him to kiss my @ss if it were me.

Angie - posted on 11/16/2010

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I don't like ultimatums. If he is placing this kind of pressure on you now, imagine what it will be like once you're married. Depending on your age and your professional background, it may or may not be difficult. I was married young and only had to change my name on my driver's license, social security card, and professional license. If you have more than that, it'll probably be a pain. It's not uncommon for there to be many surnames in a family anymore, I doubt it's a problem for you to have a different last name than your daughter. Again, stop and think about this relationship. It doesn’t seem terribly healthy if he’s telling you to change your name or he won’t marry you. If he truly loves you, it won’t matter what your name is.

Jodi - posted on 11/15/2010

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Personally, I wouldn't marry anyone who placed conditions on it like that, but that's me. Whether you change your name or not should be your choice to make, not his.

I carry my court order with me just in case I get asked in medical emergencies to prove that I have 100% parental responsibility, etc. With the same name, I would never be questioned, but there is always the chance I will be questioned because my son has his dad's name. But really, the complications aren't things you can't resolve fairly easily by just thinking ahead.

Another example is international travel - a child needs the permission of both parents to travel outside the country. I know someone who had a passport for her child, but was turned away at the airport because she didn't have permission from the father to travel. The father was never in the picture, so she had to get a court order to approve the travel. I am pretty sure that if he had the same name as her, she would never even have been asked.

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Kara - posted on 09/10/2011

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just curious as to whether the last name is that of your ex, that may be why he feels so strongly about you changing it because it keeps your ties to him. I also know that when people hypenate names sometimes it is only the woman who hypenates not both parties so would that be an option. I agree with finding out more about why it is so important to him, but i agree with it not being cool to be an ultimatum, love shouldn't come with conditions. FYI if i end up marrying my current BF i will take his last name because i still have the last name of my ex-husband to make it easier since it's the kids last name, but i personally would find it weird if i kept my ex's last name just cause my kids had it, if it was my maiden name it would likely be different.

[deleted account]

I can see alot of the different points here and this is an interesting debate. I say- when it comes to YOU changing YOUR name- 'each to his own'. BUT when it comes to changing the child's name that is a different story- as some have pointed out, each person's name is their identity and something they should get some say on. I understand your feelings given that you say the child's father is not involved but personally- I think this shouldnt be about either your name or the father's- it should be the child's choice. For instance- of my two SS's, one has chosen a hypenated version of both parents' names and the other wants his father's name. I also have a friend that chose her step-father's name for reasons that were personal to her. My point is- do what you want with your own name but if I were you I would let the child choose him/herself at whatever point he/she feels comfortable.

Krista - posted on 11/18/2010

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I think that what it come to is one party or actually both may feel very strongly one way or another.

I can't really empathize with feeling that strongly about wanting someone to change their name for you, but I understand that a lot of men do feel that way. I guess I'm just alarmed that he won't even accept hyphenation as a compromise. It's one thing to feel strongly about something -- it's quite another thing for him to be utterly rigid about it, particularly when HE'S not the one who has to go through with the major logistical pain in the butt of changing his name.

I don't know -- having the same last name makes you no more married and no more committed to each other than a couple with different last names. So I guess I just don't understand why he's being so inflexible about this.

Teresa - posted on 11/18/2010

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could you change her name w/o the father's approval? it would be side-stepping the adoption, and anyone can make a name change with social security...
but if this guy says he'll only marry you if you change your name...??? i'd question that. maybe find out what it would mean to you for you to change your name, or what it means to him when a woman doesn't change her name... i guess it's all about perception (and my husband definitely wanted me to change my name) but i don't like ultimatums.

Mamawjohnson - posted on 11/18/2010

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Thank you Sherri Champagne. sounds like we have the same beliefs. My husband and I also have the same values. I was proud to take my husbands last name.

Angie - posted on 11/18/2010

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As I thought more about this I remembered a man who worked with my husband that took his wife's last name! If your boyfriend wants you all to have the same name this might be an option.

Tracy - posted on 11/17/2010

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There is no problem with that. My mom had gotten remarried when I was young. At first I didn't understand, but I think my circumstances were different. Right now I have a different name then my three childern. They have their fathers name and I have my maiden name. Schools are fine with that now. Hope this helps in anyway.

Katherine - posted on 11/17/2010

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Thanks for clarifying Jodi. Sometimes I don't spell it out.
It really could be a deal breaker. I meant it was ridiculous that she said her husband wouldn't have married her if she hadn't taken his name, and that that was shallow. And it is. I mean back in the day....and if you both agree.....but not when one person is unsure and the other is saying, "Take my name or else."

Sherri - posted on 11/17/2010

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I think that what it come to is one party or actually both may feel very strongly one way or another. It really isn't about ultimatums but really what you as a couple are going to do so both parties are happy and you can move on as a couple. I can see how this really could be a deal breaker one way or another, if a solution couldn't be reached.

Jodi - posted on 11/17/2010

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Its' one thing to both choose to do it. It is quite another to turn it into an ultimatum by one party. it is the *I won't marry you unless you change your name* attitude that is ridiculous. I think what Katherine is saying is that a marriage shouldn't be based on changing a name, and by presenting it as an ultimatum of sorts is ridiculous when there are far more important things on which the marriage should be based.

Sherri - posted on 11/17/2010

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It is not shallow at all it is simply what we believe is the right thing to do Katherine just like you think it isn't the right thing to do. It was always something I wanted to do be married and have children. To me it wasn't even a second thought or an option I was taking my husbands last name. It is a very traditional way of thinking and sense I have very old fashioned traditional values as does my husband it is the way we chose to do it.

Katherine - posted on 11/17/2010

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That's ridiculous! That's not what love OR marriage is based on! What's in a name?
If I got re-married I would NOT take my new husbands last name for the simple fact that I want to have the same last name as my children.

That's awfully shallow to think that way. Awfully.

Mamawjohnson - posted on 11/17/2010

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A friend remarried and her new husband wanted to adopt her kids since the biological father never had much to do with them. They sent the biological father papers letting him know when court was, he didnt care enough to show up so the adoption went through.

I think if you want to be this man's wife, you should take his last name, in my opinion. My husband would not have married me had I refused to take his last name.

Megan - posted on 11/17/2010

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So there are plus's to changing your name. Nobody looks at me twice when I use my husbands credit card, or when I call about his bills (cable and power are in his name). Insurance is easier too, when we first got married and I hadn't changed my name yet (it took me like a year) and we changed companies, I had to proved a copy of our marriage certificate. Once my name was changed, it wasn't a problem.

I know a friend of mine's little sister has a different last name and the way they handle it for the school's is that they talked to the school and her teachers and records carry both names to make it less confusing to the teachers and office staff.

I didn't really want to take my husbands name either and we talked about hyphenating, but the combo was horrible. However, my FIL had his heart set on the family name being carried on, so I ended up doing it once I understood that. Try to find out why you BF is so set on you taking his name. While I don't like that he is saying no deal if you don't change your name, I do realize that we all go into marriage with certain things that are deal brakers, this is obviously one of his. At least you know it now, and not like a week before the wedding.

User - posted on 11/17/2010

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men want to know there wife is apart of them. but it is you choice because i had a neighbor growning up who keep her last name because she need to for her business and because she wanted to.

Mom - posted on 11/16/2010

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Sounds way too controlling to be involved with. By the way, I know a college professor who recently got married. Both he and his new bride changed their last names to his last name, hyphen, then her last name. He had to go through court to change his. Hers was done on the marriage license. How's that for true love!

Aralis - posted on 11/16/2010

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Theres Nothing Wrong With U Changing Ur Last Name, Dnt Think Of What People Will Think Cause They Dnt Pay Ur Bills, Jst Be Happy. Gbu

Charlie - posted on 11/16/2010

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LOL , yeah i can't say any "professional " has had an issue with our last names OR not been able to tell we were a family , that would be the most trivial thing to get worked up over .

Sherri - posted on 11/16/2010

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Jenn once again that is totally different then I was referring too. Well here it has always been worded "Your Name" "Name of Child" I say Austin does he have the same last name as you. I just can't stand the wording.

I also have a friend that she remarried so has a different name then her children. When her daughter got injured in my care. I had to rush her to the hospital and they wouldn't let her in when she gave her name and asked for her daughter because they didn't think she was the mom. She quickly pulled out her daughters SS Card and her medical card and they finally let her back.

Stifler's - posted on 11/16/2010

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Lol professionals just ask what your names are. My son and I have a different last name still because I haven't legally changed my last name. When they ask his name I just say Logan Nielson and they're like your name and I'm like Emma Newnham. It's so not a big deal to anyone.

Laura - posted on 11/16/2010

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I like a lot don't like an ultimatum however if the reason for not wanting to change you name is for your daughters sake my question is do you want to have more kids with him. If that is the case then you're going to have some child with a different last name. Personally I was excited to change my name because I got sick of the doctors office asking me what relation I was to my son (had him before we were married) now I never get that anymore. But that's just me.

Charlie - posted on 11/16/2010

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I still don't know if im going to change my last name or not it doesnt bother either of us and as a woman of the twenty first century it's totally my choice and it doesnt change a thing about how much my partner and i love each other .

Merri - posted on 11/16/2010

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I also got married and never changed my name. My son has his fathers last name. We have NEVER had a problem with doctors or social security cards for him or anything. I find you post to be insulting and completely ignorant. My family dynamics are terrific thank you. Even though we have two last names in my household.

Bonnie - posted on 11/16/2010

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I think as with a lot of other things, changing your name is a personal choice and it varies from family to family for different reasons. It could be something as simple as not wanting to change your name because it is who you are and you have carried that name since you were born. It doesn't necessarily mean that the issue means more to some than others, it's a preference.

Lisa - posted on 11/16/2010

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I have my maiden name and my children have their father's name. It's never been an issue at the Social Security office, doctor's office, school, etc.

~Jennifer - posted on 11/16/2010

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There are more instances than that, Sherri.



For instance:



A friend of mine had a sister with a son.

Her sister was murdered and my friend went to court and fought for custody of her nephew.

She won and legally adopted him.

She never changed his last name after the adoption, because to do so would have negated the existence of her sister as being his birth mother....thats how she felt about it, anyway. He does call her Mom, even though she's his 'Aunt' technically- but Mother legally.



I think the only thing that should be 'assumed' is that people think they know too damn much when they really don't know jack and should mind their own business and take care if their own families......whatever their last names may be.

Tracy - posted on 11/16/2010

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But you don't always know what the circumstances are that there are differing last names in a family. So, I see your point, but the way you presented it can rub people the wrong way.

Jodi - posted on 11/16/2010

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Sherri, I kept my maiden name when I married my first husband :) It was very complicated to change my name at that time, so I just never did it. Just sayin'. Your comment is still judgemental. I don't see why it is an issue for anyone to double check the last name of a child. A lot of people have children without getting married these days too.

Sherri - posted on 11/16/2010

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I may have not explained very well I am NOT referring to families of divorce or instances where a parent has remarried.

I guess it should be reversed it should be assumed that children have the same name as their parents unless stated otherwise. Not what has come so commonplace in our society now a days and I am NOT referring to step families. I am referring only to traditional families that have not gone through divorce or had an instance of a parent remarrying.

Jodi - posted on 11/16/2010

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Well, Sherri, it IS a rather narrow minded and insulting view. I have a wonderful family, and there are 3 different last names in our family. The ONLY reason I changed my name was because if I hadn't, there would have been 4 last names, and I just wanted to keep things as uncomplicated as possible.



It's people like you, however, who make families like mine more complicated than they need to be. But judge away if it makes you feel superior, as obviously it does. I hope the bubble never bursts.

Sherri - posted on 11/16/2010

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Why is it judgmental Mary because it annoys me that it is assumed I don't have the same name as my children?? I find that an insult.

[deleted account]

Along the lines of what Jenn said. I have some friends who, when they got married they each took on the other's last name and now they both have hyphenated last names. These aren't their real names but it went like this: Brian Smith married Kim Jones. They are now Brian Jones-Smith and Kim Jones-Smith. I thought it was a neat way to meld two lives and he got high kudos from me on that one too :)

When my ex-husband and I divorced, it was a very amicable divorce and he was ok with me keeping his last name. He knew how much I really didn't want to go back to having my father's name. So when I married my current husband, I changed my last name to his because I felt it would be disrespectful to him if I were to still carry around my ex-husband's name. It's just a name. It isn't your identity. I don't think your boyfriend / fiance should make it a condition for you marrying him but I also don't think it's a big deal if you do it or if you don't do it. Really, it's up to you in the end and if you decide to keep your maiden name and your boyfriend won't marry you because of it, then there's your sign girl. Your name. Your choice.

Meilan - posted on 11/16/2010

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Having the same name or not does not make a family or not!!! I have my dad's name and I haven't seen him in years! I don't have my mum's name, but she is my only parent. My grandmother's name is different to that of my father or mother, but she's still my goddess! The only REAL family I have with the same last name are my 2 brothers and sister. But I have a HUGE CLOSELY knit family. It has nothing to do with names or blood even for that matter.

So I find your post, Sherri, very insulting towards me and everyone I care about. And I don't think I'm the only one.
But maybe it came across different than you meant it to...

Tracy - posted on 11/16/2010

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Sherri, I can tell you same names and blood do NOT make a family. My kids are well aware they are loved and secure in our family unit, regardless of anyone's last names. I didn't grow up in the Leave It To Beaver kind of family, either. So you've essentially insulted every aunt, uncle, granparent, step parent, etc who bust their butts to raise kids.... thanks.

Mary - posted on 11/16/2010

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Sherri, I'm so glad I'm one of the ones to irk you. Wow, what a judgmental posting!

~Jennifer - posted on 11/16/2010

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.....I have a friend who took his wife's last name when they married.
I give him major credit for that.
=)

Sherri - posted on 11/16/2010

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My husband and I wouldn't be married either if I didn't change my name. Honestly I completely get it I would never have not changed my name. However, we didn't have children that would have had different names either.



In your situation she isn't your soon to be husbands so it is understandable you won't have the same last as her anymore.



However, in the instance of married woman not taking their husbands last name and then going on to have children. It really makes it not appear as there is even a family there. It is really hard for schools, dtrs etc to keep it straight. It also appears you are a single parent and I would never want that. I am so proud to be married and want everyone to know it. I know that professionals cringe when they have to ask does your child have the same last name as you because it irks me to no end. I have said it is sad you have to ask that and they all look away and say I know it is awful.

Schyla - posted on 11/16/2010

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I took my husbands last name when we married but I know plenty of people who didn't I don't think there is anything wrong either way. I agree it shouldn't be an ulimatium if you want to keep your last name then keep it and if that means he wont marry you (seriously how petty) then my guess is your probably better off with out him what else is he trying to control in your life?

Tracy - posted on 11/16/2010

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I have a few friends with names different from their kids, and it's not an issue. I'm seriously considering taking my maiden name back.

Honestly, I think the fact that he's flat out refusing to compromise with you is a deeper issue. Marriage is about compromise and working together to find a solution. Not enforcing your spouse to bend to your will. He's telling you he's only going to marry you if you bend to his will, your wishes be damned. That would have me second guessing wanting to marry him.... But, that's just me. I don't do "owned" well.

Merri - posted on 11/16/2010

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I got married and kept my maiden name. My son has my husband name. I kept my maiden name because it is part of who I am and how I grew up. Alot of people..doctors.teachers refer to me as Mrs"..." and that is fine but I just choose to keep my maiden name. Me and my son having differnent last names hasnt been a problem for any reason. Its more of a headache on the adult side. Filing our taxes the first year, adding me to my husbands health ins, stuff like that is when its a pain. But as far as my son is concerned there has never been any question.

Bonnie - posted on 11/16/2010

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Changing your name is your decision in the end. I know women who are married and have kept their maiden names. I'm not sure why they kept it, but some are really connected to their maiden names. I changed my name, not to say I didn't feel connected to my maiden name, I still do, but to me changing my name came with marriage--it is a part of marriage to me. Honestly though, I don't like ultimatums in any way and I probably would have kept my maiden name if my husband did that to me.

Alison - posted on 11/16/2010

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It seems like the complications will depend on where you live. Here in Quebec a woman must keep her maiden name, so most kids have a name that is different from their mother of their father.

Ultimately it depends on what is important to YOU. Your name, your daughter.

Jessica - posted on 11/16/2010

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I don't think it should be an issue for your kids. But I would suggest you only change your name if YOU want to, not just because he says so.

Amanda - posted on 11/16/2010

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As for children without the same last name, it really isnt that big of a deal. My older two have one last name, I have another (and later changed to my married name), my youngest child has the same name as me. It has never been an issue for us, other than teachers being unsure what name to call me.
Someone pointed out about passports, it doesnt matter what last name your child has, you have to have fathers permission to do any international travel.

I cant leave the country here (canada) even with my younest child without her fathers permission, and we are married (all three share the same last name).

Laura - posted on 11/16/2010

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Make it 5 for 5--you shouldn't have to change your name as a condition of getting married! I would seriously take a closer look at the man you wish to wed if he only will commit to you under those circumstances. Food for thought anyway...

In the greater scheme of name-changing: I didn't change mine when my husband and I got married. We decided ahead of time that female children would have my last name and male children would have his. I have a daughter that carries my last name! The marriage itself was easy in the name department--I didn't have to do anything! When my daughter was born, however, you would have thought that I was asking for some Herculian task to be performed! I had to repeat myself countless times that "yes, my husband and I ARE legally married and, yes, he is the father, but we want our daughter to have MY last name." Geesh! I actually had to sign EXTRA documentation stating that fact. To answer your question about complications with a name change, though: Yes, there is the possiblity of situations arising, but overall I doubt that there would be major issues in your day-to-day life by not having the same last name. Blended families are more common and people generally have a pretty good understanding of this dynamic in today's world.

Meilan - posted on 11/16/2010

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Wow! If my husband had said that when we got engaged I wouldn't have married him.

First of all, changing my name was never an option as in this country you can't.
Second of all, I'm very feminist :)
Third, it has to be YOUR choice and your choice alone! If you want to change it, go ahead. If not, tell him you don't want to.

I really don't get this changing names when getting married. Ages ago women had to change their name because they were no longer owned by their father, but by their husband.

Bottom line, if you don't want to, you shouldn't.

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