Victoria Teacher: can I keep my name but change it?
January 30, 2017 3:49 AM   Subscribe

So yay I'm getting married! I want to have my cake and eat it too- I want to change my name legally and still teach under my maiden name. How does this work?

I don't have to justify why I want to do this, as it's 2017 and I can do what I want with my name. I don't want to keep my current name legally as I like the idea of changing it to his, but I also want to keep it as it is professionally. I don't want to take on his name "unofficially" or "socially" - I want to change my name- my last name only.

So, I'd be Miss freethefeet TeacherName at work and Mrs freethefeet MarriedName socially. So far, this isn't too weird. But- I'm a teacher, and you have to tell the VIT (I'm in Victoria, Australia, at a government school) if you go by another name. Recently one of my colleagues was pressured into changing to her married name by someone/some institution (I'm not 100% sure of the details??) Googling I find stuff from the USA about having to change your teacher name if you change your legal name.

Honestly the big deal is that I don't want to change my work email (last.first.middleinitial@edumail) and I like the idea of not having my students being able to track me so easily.

Before I start asking questions I want to have some 'insider knowledge' because I get the feeling that there are default answers (yep, just send us in your marriage certificate and we'll change over your name) that I want to avoid.

So, have you done this- changed your name legally, but kept your unmarried name as your teacher name?

Did you have to change the name on your registration card? Were you able to keep your email?

Who should I start asking about this?


(just to clarify- I don't want to change my name to freethefeet TeacherName Married Name.)
posted by freethefeet to Law & Government (13 answers total)
Usually when you change your name, you do not get a new email address. You maintain the same email address but your IT department just changes the name associated with that email address.
posted by Polychrome at 3:54 AM on January 30, 2017

Response by poster: Polychrome - not to threadsit- but do you have specific Victorian Education department experience or are you talking about generic business practice?
posted by freethefeet at 4:11 AM on January 30, 2017

Shouldn't HR be able to answer this quickly and definitively?
posted by slkinsey at 4:20 AM on January 30, 2017 [9 favorites]

This is anecdata, but one of my kid's middle school teachers legally changed her last name after getting married, but still uses her distinctive maiden name in the classroom.

However, if you have questions about how this will work in your specific school district, why don't you ask your employer? This sounds like an HR question, or at least that seems like the most reasonable place to start. Given that this is a niche inquiry, you may have to be persistent and ask around a bit to get an answer.
posted by jeoc at 4:20 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

This seems like a pretty straightforward "I am getting married on X date; how do I process a name change for payroll purposes only?" question to ask your school or district secretary.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:51 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd start by asking your Union rep.
posted by pompomtom at 5:14 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Canadian anecdote: I know at least two of my son's teachers who recently married (as in 2-3 years ago) who go by their married name at work and socially but still have their maiden name as their school-provided email address. So there are systems out there that accommodate part of your request at least.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:19 AM on January 30, 2017

Usually organizations don't delete email addresses unless the person leaves. They may add one for your new name, but you should still get email directed to the old one if they did. I have at least 5 different addresses that all end up in my own Inbox at work and one of them is my maiden name. I know you said you don't want to be First Maiden Married - does that mean that you don't want to have two last names? Many American woman move their maiden name to their middle name, either dropping the middle or having two middle names.

As for what name you teach under and this rumor about being pressured, you should find out more info. There could be written guidelines about this - do you have an HR handbook or website that you can search?
posted by soelo at 7:57 AM on January 30, 2017

Keep your maiden name as your middle name and it will be easier to hold on to in official circumstances.
posted by cacao at 12:33 PM on January 30, 2017

Best answer: I am a lawyer and a Victorian teacher.

First, there is no legal requirement to "officially" change your name if you want to start using another name, and similarly there is no legal problem with you continuing to use your maiden name in a professional capacity (that's actually very common).

VIT does need to know about your change of name, but that's mostly for the purpose of the police check component of your registration. As part of the police check, you need to provide details of any other names you go by, and provide evidence for them.

So it is possible that if you are keeping your name professionally, VIT doesn't need to know until it is time to get a new police check, and then the new name is only part of the police check rather than your teaching registration.

However, they might then say your official name is the one that needs to go on your registration card.

I note the change of name form includes the line "If you require a replacement registration card(s) in your new name, please complete the declaration and payment details section and return your current card(s) to VIT". The "if" suggests that at least in the short term they don't have an issue with an existing card showing a name that is different from the teacher's changed name.

I would contact VIT by phone or email, explain the situation, and discuss it with them. I can't imagine you are the first teacher in this situation, so they probably have a process already.

If they do require you to change your name on your registration, that doesn't mean you need to change your name in daily use. It sounds like you already have a DET job, but the Department isn't going to change your Edumail address unless they are specifically asked to.

If I was in your situation, I would just sort things out at the VIT end, don't bother mentioning it to the school, and just provide them with a copy of your new registration card in the normal course of events. If they ask about the different name, explain the situation. My bet is they won't care, as they know who you are and they just need your registration details on file.

And if they have a problem with it at that point, you should be calling the AEU.
posted by robcorr at 12:48 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Unless your school district/government organization is MUCH more efficient than mine, even if you change your name through HR for payroll purposes, they won't change your email address. I had to beg multiple people to change mine when that was what I actually wanted.

And regardless on what's on your registration... you can tell your students to call you whatever you want! As for the tracking you part, your students don't have to know your legal name.
posted by raspberrE at 2:54 PM on January 30, 2017

Yeah, people couldn't spell my last name even when it was my legal last name, and then HR at my university employer told me that it couldn't be changed. So now my students call me by my married name but they still email me at my maiden name (when they spell it correctly). Huge pain in the rear.

I would warn you though, the email system at my university tacks on a "sender name" that is my legal name (so an email from me to my students begins "From: Chains O'Freedom ", so you may not be able to keep your legal name from your students entirely.
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:33 PM on January 30, 2017

Best answer: If you're in Australia the rules are the same as NZ and the UK. You can take your married name, but your maiden name is still also your "legal name". Many many teachers continue to use their maiden name for work purposes (one reason being all your certificates are in that name), and then use their married name for all other reasons (and, for example, on Facebook, so indignant students and their parents can't chase them up).

You can quite happily keep a bank account in your old name (my wife did this for 20 years and used it professionally). You simply tell the people you want to tell about your new name -- passport, driving licence, banks and whatever. With others you continue to use your old name.

Technically, of course, "Mrs" means "Wife of". So to be absolutely correct, you are freethefeet Teachername at school (with a Ms at the front if you really want), and Mrs hisfirstname Marriedname *as well*. Of course, people tend to use Mrs freethefeet Marriedname to avoid confusion, but it does lead to this new confusion of not realising that you have two legal names.

tl;dr: your maiden name is still your legal name. In addition, you can use your married name should you wish.
posted by tillsbury at 9:05 PM on January 30, 2017

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