Options for changing your name when you marry?
August 5, 2014 1:06 PM Subscribe
I just got engaged (yay!) and now, I have to think about what to do about my name. There are a few options I am considering. I need some pros and cons for each from those who have been down this road...
posted by JoannaC to Human Relations (55 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Some details :)
- It is my first (and hopefully only) time getting married, but not his. He claims to have no preference for whether I change it or not. He has known people who have and people who have not. He says it does not matter to him.
- I am an older person for this (just turned 37) and have obviously had a long time to get used to my present name. But I am not close to my father, and am not particularly attached to the name as an emotional thing.
- I do worry however that given my age, it may be more complex than I think to change my name since I have university degrees and certifications etc. using my present name. I am sure there are mechanisms to handle this sort of thing, but I am not sure how hard that all is.
- On the other hand, there are online relics of my teen years on Usenet (before the Internet Archive made the whole web permanent) that I would not mind being rid of. Nothing bad, but I don't think future employers need to see the Alt.Startrek posts my fourteen-year-old self made. And my present last name is identifiable enough that these things do come up in a web search.
- I am also a teacher and see a lot of kids at school with hyphenated names and mothers with different last names. I know there is nothing wrong with this choice but my emotional gut response is that I would like my possible future children and I to be listed on such lists as "The Newname Family" where it is all the same, rather than the "Oldname-Newname Family" where it is not.
- My mother thinks I should change it since she changed hers (both times). My sister is a feminist of the more strident type (and a daddy's girl) who vehemently feels I should not. My dad doesn't care.
What I have been thinking about doing is changing it socially, but not legally. So my legal name---at the bank, at the doctor, at work, on my taxes etc)---will be JoannaC Oldname, but on social media, the telephone, interacting with family members and childcare providers and so forth, I would be JoannaC Newname and answer to that as well.
But I am not sure if there are hidden pitfalls to this approach or if I could somehow get in trouble for using two names. If I get mail addressed to JoannaC Newname and must show ID to pick it up, will I run into problems if all my ID says Oldname on it? What if I get mail addressed to 'JoannaC Oldname Newname' and show up with ID that just says JoannaC Oldname? Will the post office give it to me? Are there other situations for which I might need ID and it would be a problem to potentially have it only in one name and yet they want the other one?
I am just not sure what I am failing to consider here. It may be easier to just bite the bullet, try and change it and accept that for the next year or so after the wedding, I'll have to carry around proof with me so I can change it at the bank or doctor's office or wherever. Or it may be that it is no trouble at all to keep all my paperwork as it is and just became known as JoannaC Oldname Newname.