Chit Chat

Name Change Issues??

I'm getting married in a little less than three weeks and have been trying to decide what I'm going to do about my name change. I know I either want to have two middle names (one being my maiden name) or two last names non-hyphenated. As a result, I have two questions...

1. Has anybody found it difficult in day-to-day life to have two last names, hypenated or not? I can just see how that would be confusing. I would rather have two last names I think and casually go by FH's last name, but FH seems to think that this would cause problems when dealing with financial or legal things (I'm in law school).

2. I have read in several places that if you want to keep your maiden name either as a second middle name or a second last name, it must be indicated on the marriage certificate, but I was expressly told by the clerk that I am to sign the marriage certificate with my legal name as it is now. What am I supposed to do in order to be sure I can have both names? Is it enough that I sign as my current legal name and he signs with his?

Thank you!

Re: Name Change Issues??

  • JaxInBlueJaxInBlue
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    edited May 2016
    1.  I was a hyphenate until I was married.  Once I married I moved one name to my middle name and took DH's last name.  In both cases, there has been confusion about what my actual last name is.  It's not a frequent happening, but there have been occasions where paperwork has been filed under my middle name (or when I was a hyphenate, the second part of my name).  It's going to be up to you to determine if you're okay having to ask people to look under the "other" name, to deal with junk mail that comes addressed to some portion of your name, to have people asking for clarification about what you are going by.

    The variations in my name have never been a problem in terms of financial or legal disclosures.  I just had to update some forms for work and there was no delay or complications because I have more than one potential name permutation.

    2.  These rules vary so much by state.  If you have questions, you need to call the clerk or registrar's office in the city or county where you will marry and ask them.   If I remember correctly, when I got married in NY, I had to declare the name I would go by after the wedding on the marriage license and then sign with the name I intended to use (thus triggering a process that allowed me to go to Social Security, then the DMV, the bank, etc.).  But that's NY. 

    I also think, though this might be wrong, states have their own rules for how a last name can be built if either party wants to change their last name.**  I think in NY it's one of three choices (1) one partner's surname for both people, (2) a hyphenated surname with both partners' names or (3) a new name that combines letters/elements from each name, for example Robin Hargrove and Riley Marshland become The Marshgroves.  So you need to not only get clarity on how you sign your license, but that your preferred plan meets your state's rules.

    **ETA: This is just if you/spouse want to change your name.  In NY, I could have also kept my name as is, no problem.
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  • Great! Thank you so much!
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I agree with jaxinblue. I don't know about your first question, but the second question varies by state. 

    In Alaska, you don't indicate what name you will use anywhere on the license or certificate. After the wedding, you request an official marriage certificate from the state and then take it to the various offices and use it as proof you are legally able to change your name without, say, going through the court process of changing it. 

    The nice thing about Alaska's way is you can pretty much do it whenever. I didn't do it until 6 months post wedding because I didn't know what I was going to do with my name and I didn't want to change it mid college semester. 

  • I went with changing my middle name to my maiden name (and dropping by birth middle name), and I took H's last name. I have friends who had hyphenated last names growing up, and they found it cumbersome. Do you plan on having kids? If so, would they have both last names, or just one? Something to consider if kids are in your future.

    And requirements definitely vary by state in terms of when you must decide and what your options are. In Oregon, there are a ton of options - you can drop your last name and take your spouse's, you can drop your middle name in favor of your maiden name and take your spouse's last name, you can keep your middle name, but also add your maiden name as a second middle name, you can have two last names, you can hyphenate, etc. I found a list of options, plus steps for applying for a license, when I Googled "Oregon Marriage License".

    Like @JaxInBlue I had to indicate on the application which option I wanted to do when we went to the registrar. Once I made that choice, I was stuck with it, and that document is what I had to take to the SS office. So definitely look in to your state's laws.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • I thought briefly about doing that (ditching my middle name for my maiden name), but I love my middle name and I don't want to get rid of it. If I did the dual last name thing that would be just for me - our kids would have his name only.

    I looked into Indiana (where I'm from) and they seem to follow the federal model rule as far as I can tell - you sign with your maiden name and then you can do pretty much whatever you want between the two last names - hyphenate, not hyphenate, one surname, combination.
  • In NH it's similar, you can do whatever you want with your last name. Except- if you want to change your middle name to be your maiden name, you have to go to court (I had a few friends who did that). I'm not sure what the middle name restrictions are if you want to use your maiden as a second middle, but I'd check into that because sometimes the rules are different for middle vs. last.
  • In NH it's similar, you can do whatever you want with your last name. Except- if you want to change your middle name to be your maiden name, you have to go to court (I had a few friends who did that). I'm not sure what the middle name restrictions are if you want to use your maiden as a second middle, but I'd check into that because sometimes the rules are different for middle vs. last.
    Well that seems unnecessarily complicated. I guess Oregon is just pretty relaxed with it... I could have changed my middle to my maiden (as I did), or I even could have taken H's last name as a middle. But we could not make up a new name by combining our surnames. It's crazy how different states have such different rules!
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    ________________________________


  • Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    I kind of get what you mean - it's weird she includes her middle name in the directory, but I also get what she's doing. I got rid of my middle name in favor of my maiden name, but my FB profile has First Middle Last. The reason I included my middle (maiden) name on FB is so that if I friend someone, who may know me by my maiden name, they will know who I am. (Ohhh, Jane Doe Smith must be Jane Doe from college!).

    But if she is just going by both anyway, she should have hyphenated.

    Funny story - my sister didn't realize that the choice she put on her marriage license (maiden as middle) would be binding - she thought she could change it later. She was torn between hyphenating and what she ended up doing, because her maiden and married names rhyme and she thinks it's hilarious to hyphenate them. So, professionally (she's an elementary school teacher) she goes by Mrs. Maiden-Married (which rhymes), but legally her maiden is her middle name. She's quirky like that.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Practically I think if your name is Susan Elizabeth Jones Smith people will call you Susan Smith. If you want to be Ms. Jones Smith you'll be correcting people a lot. 
  • I have two first names.  It is hell filling out any computer form that requires my full name.  It is also an issue with anything that needs my initials.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg

  • Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    I kind of get what you mean - it's weird she includes her middle name in the directory, but I also get what she's doing. I got rid of my middle name in favor of my maiden name, but my FB profile has First Middle Last. The reason I included my middle (maiden) name on FB is so that if I friend someone, who may know me by my maiden name, they will know who I am. (Ohhh, Jane Doe Smith must be Jane Doe from college!).

    But if she is just going by both anyway, she should have hyphenated.

    Funny story - my sister didn't realize that the choice she put on her marriage license (maiden as middle) would be binding - she thought she could change it later. She was torn between hyphenating and what she ended up doing, because her maiden and married names rhyme and she thinks it's hilarious to hyphenate them. So, professionally (she's an elementary school teacher) she goes by Mrs. Maiden-Married (which rhymes), but legally her maiden is her middle name. She's quirky like that.

    I'm not planning on going by both - I'm planning on casually going by my FH's name. I don't want a symbol in my name, and since I'm not "going by" both I don't feel like I *need* to have one to make an acquaintance's life easier. I mean on Facebook I would keep my full name so people could find me - and also because I like looking at it. Legally I would have both names, but not in my day to day life. In *my* opinion, a hyphenated last name is ugly - something pretty interrupted by a dash - and that's not something I want for myself.

    I feel like it's ridiculous to tell someone they *have* to "pick one." I shouldn't have to give up my entire identity because I'm getting married, and I shouldn't have to forego a family name because I don't want to lose a part of myself.
    redwoodoriginalGreenjinjo huskypuppy14

  • Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    I kind of get what you mean - it's weird she includes her middle name in the directory, but I also get what she's doing. I got rid of my middle name in favor of my maiden name, but my FB profile has First Middle Last. The reason I included my middle (maiden) name on FB is so that if I friend someone, who may know me by my maiden name, they will know who I am. (Ohhh, Jane Doe Smith must be Jane Doe from college!).

    But if she is just going by both anyway, she should have hyphenated.

    Funny story - my sister didn't realize that the choice she put on her marriage license (maiden as middle) would be binding - she thought she could change it later. She was torn between hyphenating and what she ended up doing, because her maiden and married names rhyme and she thinks it's hilarious to hyphenate them. So, professionally (she's an elementary school teacher) she goes by Mrs. Maiden-Married (which rhymes), but legally her maiden is her middle name. She's quirky like that.

    I'm not planning on going by both - I'm planning on casually going by my FH's name. I don't want a symbol in my name, and since I'm not "going by" both I don't feel like I *need* to have one to make an acquaintance's life easier. I mean on Facebook I would keep my full name so people could find me - and also because I like looking at it. Legally I would have both names, but not in my day to day life. In *my* opinion, a hyphenated last name is ugly - something pretty interrupted by a dash - and that's not something I want for myself.

    I feel like it's ridiculous to tell someone they *have* to "pick one." I shouldn't have to give up my entire identity because I'm getting married, and I shouldn't have to forego a family name because I don't want to lose a part of myself.
    No one says you have to do anything. People are just giving their opinions here, as we tend to do on this forum.
    BabyFruit Ticker
    STARMOON44

  • Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    I kind of get what you mean - it's weird she includes her middle name in the directory, but I also get what she's doing. I got rid of my middle name in favor of my maiden name, but my FB profile has First Middle Last. The reason I included my middle (maiden) name on FB is so that if I friend someone, who may know me by my maiden name, they will know who I am. (Ohhh, Jane Doe Smith must be Jane Doe from college!).

    But if she is just going by both anyway, she should have hyphenated.

    Funny story - my sister didn't realize that the choice she put on her marriage license (maiden as middle) would be binding - she thought she could change it later. She was torn between hyphenating and what she ended up doing, because her maiden and married names rhyme and she thinks it's hilarious to hyphenate them. So, professionally (she's an elementary school teacher) she goes by Mrs. Maiden-Married (which rhymes), but legally her maiden is her middle name. She's quirky like that.

    I'm not planning on going by both - I'm planning on casually going by my FH's name. I don't want a symbol in my name, and since I'm not "going by" both I don't feel like I *need* to have one to make an acquaintance's life easier. I mean on Facebook I would keep my full name so people could find me - and also because I like looking at it. Legally I would have both names, but not in my day to day life. In *my* opinion, a hyphenated last name is ugly - something pretty interrupted by a dash - and that's not something I want for myself.

    I feel like it's ridiculous to tell someone they *have* to "pick one." I shouldn't have to give up my entire identity because I'm getting married, and I shouldn't have to forego a family name because I don't want to lose a part of myself.
    No one says you have to do anything. People are just giving their opinions here, as we tend to do on this forum.
    I understand that, that's why I responded with mine. :smiley: 

  • Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    I kind of get what you mean - it's weird she includes her middle name in the directory, but I also get what she's doing. I got rid of my middle name in favor of my maiden name, but my FB profile has First Middle Last. The reason I included my middle (maiden) name on FB is so that if I friend someone, who may know me by my maiden name, they will know who I am. (Ohhh, Jane Doe Smith must be Jane Doe from college!).

    But if she is just going by both anyway, she should have hyphenated.

    Funny story - my sister didn't realize that the choice she put on her marriage license (maiden as middle) would be binding - she thought she could change it later. She was torn between hyphenating and what she ended up doing, because her maiden and married names rhyme and she thinks it's hilarious to hyphenate them. So, professionally (she's an elementary school teacher) she goes by Mrs. Maiden-Married (which rhymes), but legally her maiden is her middle name. She's quirky like that.

    I'm not planning on going by both - I'm planning on casually going by my FH's name. I don't want a symbol in my name, and since I'm not "going by" both I don't feel like I *need* to have one to make an acquaintance's life easier. I mean on Facebook I would keep my full name so people could find me - and also because I like looking at it. Legally I would have both names, but not in my day to day life. In *my* opinion, a hyphenated last name is ugly - something pretty interrupted by a dash - and that's not something I want for myself.

    I feel like it's ridiculous to tell someone they *have* to "pick one." I shouldn't have to give up my entire identity because I'm getting married, and I shouldn't have to forego a family name because I don't want to lose a part of myself.
    No one says you have to do anything. People are just giving their opinions here, as we tend to do on this forum.
    I understand that, that's why I responded with mine. :smiley: 
    I do agree with your opinion that hyphens are weird. I would not want to hyphenate my own last name, so I picked H's. I also thought that two last names would be confusing, and no one would use them anyway, so maiden went to middle. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
    Knottie1432299083
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Speaking as an outsider to this hyphenate/middle name business, I'd just like to say I'd prefer (like it's any of my beeswax, hah) that people either pick one last name, or hyphenate. 
    One of my coworkers changed her maiden name to her middle name and then took her husband's last name. So instead of knowing her as Jane Doe, she's now officially Jane Doe Smith, and I know this both from Facebook and from her new listing in the work directory. But, knowing that Doe is her "middle" name, do I say, "Oh, Jane Doe Smith can help you with that," or "Oh, Jane Smith can help you with that,"? Like, if she wants to go by both names (Doe Smith) why didn't she hyphenate? Gah! 

    So yeah, I think two last names is difficult. Hyphenate or pick one. 
    My legal married name is first, middle, H's last name. On FB I am first, maiden,H's last name so that people who don't know my married last name would know me by the maiden name. DD assumed since that was how it was on FB that was my legal name. So when she changed her name she ditched her middle name and uses her maiden name as the middle. She never asked me and was surprised to find out that I kept my middle name (which I like). Unfortunately, she liked her middle name too but thought that was the thing to do! LOL
    Knottie1432299083
  • JaxInBlue said:
    If I remember correctly, when I got married in NY, I had to declare the name I would go by after the wedding on the marriage license and then sign with the name I intended to use (thus triggering a process that allowed me to go to Social Security, then the DMV, the bank, etc.).  But that's NY. 
    Urgh yeah, I'm nervous about this because I'm getting married in the UK so will be using a UK marriage license to change my name in NY. The DMV assured me I can use an overseas marriage license but I'm hoping there won't be any issue with the fact that in the UK you sign with your maiden name, not what you're changing it to!
  • JaxInBlue said:
    If I remember correctly, when I got married in NY, I had to declare the name I would go by after the wedding on the marriage license and then sign with the name I intended to use (thus triggering a process that allowed me to go to Social Security, then the DMV, the bank, etc.).  But that's NY. 
    Urgh yeah, I'm nervous about this because I'm getting married in the UK so will be using a UK marriage license to change my name in NY. The DMV assured me I can use an overseas marriage license but I'm hoping there won't be any issue with the fact that in the UK you sign with your maiden name, not what you're changing it to!
    I got married in NY and didn't sign the license with my married name, though we each had to indicate if we would have a new name after the wedding. No one even sees what you sign on the license since the marriage certificate is what you need to show the SSA and DMV and the only person who signs the certificate is the officiant. 

    They absolutely accept foreign marriage certificates, the NY DMV website says as long as your marriage certificate shows both surnames (which I'm assuming every marriage certificate will) you're golden. It doesn't need to be pre-indicated that you're taking your spouses surname, though a NY marriage license/certificate does show that.
    londinium215
  • In NH it's similar, you can do whatever you want with your last name. Except- if you want to change your middle name to be your maiden name, you have to go to court (I had a few friends who did that). I'm not sure what the middle name restrictions are if you want to use your maiden as a second middle, but I'd check into that because sometimes the rules are different for middle vs. last.
    Well that seems unnecessarily complicated. I guess Oregon is just pretty relaxed with it... I could have changed my middle to my maiden (as I did), or I even could have taken H's last name as a middle. But we could not make up a new name by combining our surnames. It's crazy how different states have such different rules!
    I got married in NH in October and was told if I wanted to take my maiden as my middle I just had to fill it out that way on the marriage license. I didn't choose to do that but there was no mention of having to go to court at the town clerk's office... 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I have been hyphenated from birth (parents kept their own names when they married, kids got both.)  People definitely screw it up all the time, but it's not a big deal.  Let's pretend my full name is Jane Marie Fitzwilliam-Smith. I get lots of people who would call me "Jane Smith" even if I just given them my actual name.  Sometimes it's "Jane Fitzwilliam," but the first of my last names is more complicated than the second so that configuration is a bit less common.  I typically correct them but I don't always bother if it's a restaurant host or something.  For some reason I also get an unbelievable amount of junk mail credit offers under the name of "Smith J. Fitzwilliam."

    A hyphenated name can be a bit cumbersome from time to time, particularly one like mine where both components are complicated ethnic names.  But I love my name, and I appreciate the symbolism of hyphenating.
    OurWildKingdom
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