Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Adding to the name change discussion..

Well it's more like a couple of questions. I saw in the last name change thread some of you mentioned disliking (from personal experience) when mom has a different last name than her children. Why is that? What from your experience made this so terrible??

For those of you who have kept your maiden name, does not having the same last name as your family/ husband ever cause any legal problems, issues, confusions etc.? And I don't mean socially... people will always have their opinions. I just want to know about potential legal issues you may have encountered.

Finally, I see the idea of using H's last name socially thrown around quite often. In all seriousness, how do you do this? Obviously using your maiden name legally or professionally is pretty clear, but do you ever find yourself needing to you use your maiden name in other cases? For example with children's teachers at school... are you the same maiden last name as on children's school records, or socially H's last name? I'm really curious about how this works for each person.

Backstory if you're interested, I'm a dual citizen in the US and Ecuador. I'm currently living and getting married in Ecuador. Here I'm not required to change my name by any means and these days it's practically unheard of. My marriage will be valid in the US and while I still have to do a little more research on it, I'm pretty sure at some point I'll have to present my marriage and name in the US. I understand this is when I'll have to decide whether I'll keep my name or not. FI has no preference as it's never been part of his culture, in fact he feels I should keep my name because it's mine. However he does understand the importance it has in American culture and would like to avoid any possible issues keeping my name might include (if we decided to live and raise our children there that is) Basically he supports me either way 100%. I know it's a decision only I can make, I'd just like to hear from your personal experiences! :)

edited for clarity

Re: Adding to the name change discussion..

  • I don't think a woman keeping her last name causes confustion.  Moms have different names from their kids because they kept their maiden name or they've remarried.  Schools are used to this.

    As for how it works socially, I just don't correct people when they call me Mrs. Husbandslastname.
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  • As a child I had a different name than both of my parents. Talk about confusion.  I resented it because I was constantly asked was I adopted, from a broken home (which I was) etc.  Not to mention that I was obviously Hispanic being raised in a white home.  So yeah it bothered me a lot. Then again this was the 80s so it carried a social stigma, which it does not now.  I however am scarred for life so I changed my name so my kids and I will have the same last name.
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  • I haven't run into any problems with my daughter having FI's last name. We gave her FI's last name because we knew we were getting married eventually and we both agreed that we want to share one common family name. I haven't run into any problems at daycare or the pediatrician. We had to take her into the ER once and they had no issue either. They have my legal name on file, never questioned it. If there ever was a question I can show that I am listed on the birth certificate. Sometimes the pediatrician's office calls me Mrs. HisLastName, I don't correct them because it doesn't bother me and I know they have the correct info on file. I do think schoos and any official documents should always have your legal name rather than what you like to be called socially.
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  • Nati05Nati05 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    In Response to <a href=" BoardsForum:36Discussion:73e1cf82-0436-4a79-88aa-20924569dc1ePost:fd3903ec-75bf-4b01-b204-082dbc737c5a">Re: Adding to the name change discussion..</a>:
    [QUOTE]I haven't run into any problems with my daughter having FI's last name. We gave her FI's last name because we knew we were getting married eventually and we both agreed that we want to share one common family name. I haven't run into any problems at daycare or the pediatrician. We had to take her into the ER once and they had no issue either. They have my legal name on file, never questioned it. If there ever was a question I can show that I am listed on the birth certificate. Sometimes the pediatrician's office calls me Mrs. HisLastName, I don't correct them because it doesn't bother me and I know they have the correct info on file. I do think schoos and any official documents should always have your legal name rather than what you like to be called socially.
    Posted by mtbentley[/QUOTE]

    We would probably do the same, give our children his last name. I have no problem with this. Glad to know things run smoothly for you, thanks for the info! :)
  • saacjwsaacjw member
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2012
    Ok, not married yet, but I grew up with the different last name thing, so I can give that perspective. 

    My mom has a different last name. I've not had problems, you just have to learn to deal with the mix ups. I lived primarily with my mom and step-dad and my mom kept her maiden name, so we actually had three last names in our house. Everyone just responded to each other's last names. We've gotten a ton of invites and things addressed to The StepDad's Last Name Family or The Mom's Maiden Name Family and my stepdad often got called by my last name by people who didn't realize he wasn't my dad. My stepdad is a teacher and his students and coworkers actually know me by my nickname his last name (I've gotten things addressed to me as such). 

    For things like school or doctors- I can't remember ever having a problem. My mom was never questioned about her relationship to us with a different last name, like it was always pretty obvious that we were hers. In terms of things like school records, she used her maiden name and again, it wasn't questioned. My step-dad was also listed as a contact/parent/guardian and again, not questioned. 

    I think it's common enough for kids to have different names than one parent or the other anymore that most people I've dealt with don't look twice at it. 
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  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    I never encountered a single legal issue having a last name that was not the same as my husband and son.  My son is a rising sophomore in college; his father and I divorced ages ago.  My son has never had any issue or problem because he and I have different last names.  He knows it doesn't matter to me if someone calls me by my ex's (his dad's) last name.  He has always had friends and classmates whose names are not the same as one, or both (if the child has a hyphenated last name), of their parents.

    I am now remarried.  New husband and the same last name I've had since the day I was born.  It works quite nicely.  And, yes, sometimes, people call me Mrs. Husband's LastName; sometimes, people call him Mr. My LastName.  Neither of us have a problem with it. 

    The only variation on the theme which bothers me is being called Mrs. My LastName -- that's just gross and weird -- because that's either my mother or my grandmother. LOL!
  • Spunky414Spunky414 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited June 2012
    I have a relative who has 5 children between 3 different men and all but one of the kids have their fathers' names (total of 4 names in the family). The only time she ever had issues was in the airport taking them on an international trip she had their birth certificates and had her records of marriage/divorce that matched her to the birth certificate names since she changed her name with each husband. 
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  • I'm going to throw this in, and you'll think it's nuts...

    I know a couple from college who BOTH changed their names. They went through their family trees and chose a family name they both liked (I like it, too, better than either of their names). Sure, it was an extreme pain in the ass, but rather than one of them sacrificing their name, they both did it. And I don't think either of them had a compelling reason to keep their previous name (like... medical licenses or any professional reason like that).

    I dunno. It worked for them. It was odd at first, but I think of them by their new name now.

    I could see how this will cause fits for geneaologists, though... My mother, who's an Ancestry person, was irrate when I brought it up.
  • I think that there's no one perfect solution. Some people want their entire family to have the same last name (and then they need to decide what name that will be - which means at least one person has to change their name), and some people don't care.

    I don't mind having a different last name from my children. Plenty of never-married or divorced parents have different last names than their children. Schools are used to dealing with that. A parent's official name will be on school records. And if a teacher sent my kid home with someone just because that person had the same last name, I'd be livid!

    I know people who have hyphenated their children's names, alternated last names (child 1 gets mom's last name, child 2 gets dad's last name, etc), or given 1 name to all the children.

    I wanted to combine our last names into a new last name for our children, but my husband vetoed it. They will have my last name as a second middle and his last name, as a compromise. But if they ever ask why boys last names are more important than girls' last names, he can answer that question. ;)
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  • I don't have kids, but I can share my experience with having a different last name than my mother.  My mom and dad divorced when I was pretty young, and my mom married my stepdad when I was 5.  So she has pretty much always had a different last name than me. 

    But, it never created any kind of problems with schools, doctors, etc.  Sometimes, when people met her for the first time through me, they would assume she had the same last name as me and refer to her as such.  She would either gently correct them or, if she knew she wouldn't be seeing them again, not bother.

    I would say that more difficulties came from having a different name than my stepfather; even though he was just as much a legal guardian as my mom or dad, people often assumed he was not my parent.  But I can't remember it ever being more difficult than explaining that he was a step-parent.

    Now that I'm married, I'm trying the whole "married name socially, maiden name legally" thing.  It hasn't really created any problems as of yet, but we'll see how I feel about if/when we have kids, who will get their father's last name.
  • Nati05Nati05 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    Thanks everyone for your insight! I've been leaning towards keeping my maiden name but I kept worrying if this could ever cause me any problems later on I might regret. I grew up with a different last name than my mom but never really thought twice about it because she was remarried. I was surprised to hear this was traumatizing for some people! But anyway I wanted to hear about mom's experiences too. Thanks again :)
  • I used to work with a woman who I believe legally (although she might have just been professionally going by it) kept her maiden and then socially used her husband's name.  It worked because things tended to be addressed to them as a family (including their boys) and then when she would do what she did professionally she would go by her maiden.  It was fine.  

    For example, I always address things to the 'Blank" family when I send them cards or something, and when she RSVPed to our wedding she did the same.  But I know that her checks say otherwise and I know that her business was in her maiden name.  
  • jennipea382jennipea382 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited June 2012
    I don't think it would cause problems. Maybe a little confusion but nothing too bad. I could see people maybe making assumptions that you're your kids stepmom, or that you're not with their father anymore, but I'm not sure how much that would happen.

    Personally, I want my FI's name because I like the idea of being the ____ family. It just gives me that connection with him and my future kids. Not that you wouldn't have a connection without the same name of course, but that's what I prefer for myself.

    As for situations I've seen, I haven't seen it being a big problem. My friend has two kids. One has her last name (father wasn't really in the picture after she got pregnant) and the other has her FI's last name. As far as I know, there haven't been any issues with it. Her daughter is hyphenating her last name when mom gets married. She's 8, and that's what she wanted. She said "I'm a Smith, but I want to be a Johnson too" (not real last names). So that's an option for kids in the future if you want to use both names.

    Someone mentioned knowing a couple that both changed their names.. I know a couple like that too. He had a lot of issues with his dad, and although the last name he had was super common, he didn't want it anymore. So he chose his grandmother's maiden name (I think, something like that), and that is his wife's married name. I know that's not really what the post was about but I wanted to mention that I've seen the same thing!
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  • My father died when I was youung.  Mom remarried and took my step-dad's last name.  I kept my dad's.  My younger brother added our step-dad's after our father's.

    I still have my father's last name.  I am not changing it when I marry my FI in August.  My two children have their deceased father's last name.  Also, FI's grand daughter lives wth us and has her father's last name.

    So, in one household, we have 5 people and 4 different last names.  It's not confusing, not for us anyway. 

    There are no legal problems [not sure what legal problems keeping one's name might cause].

    Yes, it's rather a PITA when I make hotel reservations, fill out school permission slips, etc. because there are never enough lines for all our information, but oh well.
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  • My 2 cents- I also grew up having a different last name from my mom (and stepdad) and I was embarrassed.  I was one of only a few kids I knew at the time who had a different last name from their parents and i didn't like being different in that respect.  (I lived with my mom and stepdad, not w my dad and stepmom)
    Now that I'm older, I don't really care. And I took my H's last name
  • My mom remarried when I was 5 (In 1989), took my step-dad's last name, and then had 2 more kids right away (And then adopted another one when I was 18). So I grew up in a family where my parents AND most of my siblings had a different last name ... our family was/is known as "The Smith Family", while my last name was "Jones".

    It never bothered me, never caused any problems with school or doctors or anything like that, because I most certainly wasn't the only kid in my shoes at the time. My bio-dad wasn't really involved with my life, I was always considered a part of the family, most people didn't even realize that I and my older sister had a different last name than everybody else (Or that our "dad" was really our step-dad).

    The only real "impact" this had on me was it made me realize how unimportant a last name actually is to me, what matters to me is the actual family. I took DH's name, because I really wasn't all that attached to my maiden name ... it just didn't matter to me.

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  • mrsR12mrsR12 member
    My mom didn't change her last name when she got married (it wasn't part of the culture) so even though my parents have been married for almost 50 years, they have different last names.  I plan on changing mine to his, only bc it's something we both agreed on.  
    Growing up, I def got looks and questions as to why my last name was different from mom, or they would ask for my relationship to her.  It wasn't traumatizing, it just wasn't pleasant.  
    We also ran into problems with the "Mailbox" not having 1 last name on it.  My 3 older sisters got married and none of them changed their last name.  

    It is a personal decision.  
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  • I think it's a personal choice, there are pros and cons to both options.  I changed my last name because I wanted to, simple as that - despite the fact that I always said I'd keep my last name before I met H!  If I ever had kids I would personally want to have the same last name as them, but I don't really care either way what other people do.

    I don't really think it's a problem either way.  There are so many brides now that don't change their names, kids with divorced parents, kids with parents who were never married, etc. that people don't even bat an eye if you have a last name different than your husband or your kids. 

    I'd just go with your gut feeling on what to do, I don't think there are going to be any problems for you legally either way.
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