My answer here will be based on Canada, because that is where I live, and what I know best… but my experience may help a little in your situation
In Canada, it is quite common to keep your Birth Surname (Family Name)… and has been for decades… so much so, that in the Province of Quebec it has been the law since April 1981 (but then again Quebec has a “continental” outlook on life, and their Laws are vastly different from the rest of North America)
Anyhow, for my first marriage I kept my Maiden / Birth Surname. So went from MISS Sue Jones to MRS Sue Jones without having to do a thing
As that was my legal name on everything it was easy-peasy. Just had to check the MARRIED BOX whenever Marital Status was asked.
Professionally everyone knew me as Sue Jones anyhow… work colleagues when I got married were a bit taken a back when they asked what my “NEW name would be” and I answered “Sue Jones” (lol, some oldtimers didn’t understand it at all… some found it disrespectful to my Hubby… while the occasional one would say “Fancy that your Hubby has the same last name as yours, isn’t that convenient”)
Babies were born. They took their Father’s Surname. They went off to school, and I was Barbara Brown’s Mother (so Sue Brown). I didn’t bother to correct anyone… and my kids didn’t flinch either… they were used to hearing that I was BOTH Sue Jones & Sue Brown.
Occasionally, something would come up where I had to legally address being BOTH Sue Jones & Sue Brown. It was most often when a cheque came addressed to both Hubby and I (Bob & Sue Brown)… happened when we got married as Wedding Presents… and occasionally for Birthday or Christmas Gifts, mostly from his side of the family.
In that case, he signed the cheque. I signed as Sue Brown, and then again as Sue Jones (as Bob Brown and Sue Jones were our legal names). Sometimes the bank found this confusing, occasionally someone would say “Hey we don’t accept 3rd Party Cheques” (a cheque that has been signed over to me). And I’d reply… “It isn’t a 3rd Party… I am both Sue Brown and Sue Jones… just that one is my Married Name, and one is my Legal Name”. That usually cleared things up. As well the Teller at the Bank put a note on my account that said “aka Sue Brown” 20+ Years, not a big problem.
Then Hubby and I divorced… I remained Sue Jones. The “virtual” Sue Brown, well she virtually disappeared… and I checked the MARITAL STATUS BOX and became MS Sue Jones.
Here it is about 10 Years later, and I’m about to marry again. Considering all the possibilities. I do like the idea of keeping my “Birth Surname” as my middle name, and Mr TTR would love it if I took his Family Name as mine (making me just Sue Whitedress for the most part)
Lol, this would be a HUGE change for me… legally changing my name after 50+ years.
But I’m thinking WHY NOT afterall this is the last time I’m getting married… lol. And being as I am semi-retired my professional life as Sue Jones is coming to a close anyhow. (Although if I am totally honest, I’m thinking of a whole new career as a writer, so I get to create a new persona with that too … a nom de plume as well as a new “married” last name sounds intriguing)
The one thing I do know that in Canada you can pretty much call yourself whatever you want… without a lot of issues. So it is possible to have lots of names… Birth Name – Married Name – Divorced Name – Professional Name – Remarried Name etc
BUT you can only have ONE Legal name. And if it is taken when you are born or marry, you don’t have to pay to change it… and it can be anything you want it to be… Yours – His – Combination (the one I’m considering as Sue Jones Whitedress) – Hyphenated (that one isn’t for me)… OR you can both make a NEW Name up… doesn’t have to be something representative of the names you have now even (lol, Sue Somemore)
Not sure how this will all go down, as I haven’t gone thru the process yet (My Wedding is in December) but from what I’ve heard it is really really easy. You sign the Marriage License, get the Certificate, and then change your Passport and other Government Paperwork (providing whatever proof is requested… Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate). Job done.
Hope this helps (even a wee bit),
*NOTE – Names have been changed to protect the “not so” innocent