Impending name change and the resulting identity crisis.
November 3, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting re-married. How do I juggle a professional identity with my soon-to-be old name and a new name identity everywhere else?

I'm about to get re-married (yay!). I'll need to keep using my current name professionally because I'm far too established with (online and otherwise) to change it. I'm not thrilled by this but, logistically, it would be just a nightmare.

Socially, I want to take my new husband's name because I like it. I also don't want to have my ex's last name while married to someone else. I never really liked my current name anyway but only hung on to it so my kids and I would have the same last name. In retrospect, I realize it wasn't the right decision, but I digress.

Is it better to legally change my name to Mona Newname or legally stay Mona Ex'sname? I know name changes are a hassle, but I don't mind that part. What concerns me is having to juggle two identities. How workable is it? I really don't want to be known as Mona Ex'sname any longer and anywhere I don't have to be, but is it worth legally changing it on my driver's license, etc when it's still going to be a huge part of my life?

I've read previous threads on change names but none seem to address this particular aspect of a name change.

Data points:

1) I considered hyphenating but the resulting name would be unwieldy and I would really like to shed my ex's name entirely wherever possible.

2) New husband and I won't be having kids so that's a non-issue.

3) New husband can't change his name for professional reasons either so coming up with a blend won't work.

To be clear, I have no animosity about my ex or his name, I just don't like it.
posted by _Mona_ to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hi, I've spent a few years as a heartless bureaucrat. If you change your name as part of the marriage, legally, your new name will be your government name, and your government name is what goes on government paperwork (I-9s, W-4s, tax returns, etc.)

Keep your certified marriage certificate (indicating both your new and old names) on you at all times. In your purse or backpack or folded up in your wallet or whatever. There's a government paperwork (required by employers) that requires pairs of matching IDs, and the certified marriage certificate will bridge the ones you bothered to change and the ones you didn't.

You can have your "professional" name be whatever you want as far as networking and whatever, but if you do change it, don't put it on anything that is an Important Document.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

What about Mona Exname Newname? My ex's ex-wife did this. She used Mona Exname Newname professionally and Mona Newname for everything else.
posted by violetk at 12:00 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I considered hyphenating but the resulting name would be unwieldy and I would really like to shed my ex's name entirely wherever possible.

I would change my name to the newlastname legally and as for my professional life, I would do a temporary hyphenation and try to phase that out in a year or two. It would only be unwieldy for a few years, but the benefit would be that I would completely shed the ex's name.
posted by NoraCharles at 12:03 PM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am a professional nurse and a well established one (23+ years). I went with what violetK suggested. No hyphen, just using it like a middle name. It pains me to see my ex's name on there, but there it is.
posted by magnoliasouth at 1:38 PM on November 3, 2012

Are you very connected on LinkedIn? I would go with your Oldname Newname for a while and then shift to Newname. You can keep Oldname Newname on LinkedIn and it should be enough for people to find you and remember you. At least, that's what works in my neck of the woods.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 3:21 PM on November 3, 2012

Reflecting on what I've seen with the women I know who've gotten married or changed their names, I think if you shift to using Mona Exname Newname (no hyphen) as your full professional name, it would help people make the connection; at the same time, my sense is that in practice people will wind up calling you Mona Newname.
posted by Lexica at 6:55 PM on November 3, 2012

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