(Closed) Please Help me with my name-changing confusion

posted 6 years ago in Names
Post # 3
16213 posts
Honey Beekeeper

Bumping this up for you! I definitely think you’re on the right track with what you plan to do. I’m sorry to say that I’m not sure what the legal guidelines are, but I’m hoping someone else does!

Post # 4
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m keeping my maiden name professionally and officially, but am letting people know that I’m happy to answer to his last name socially. I’m ProfessorGirl Mylastname. But if anyone refers to us as The Hislastnames or they address a card to us as Mrs. and Mrs. Hislastname, I won’t correct them or have a problem with it. Any correspondance they get from us will use our return address stamp that has the two last names. 

It’s early days yet, so I don’t know if this will cause problems, but so far no one is confused or has had an issue. 

Post # 5
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

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


Post # 7
11352 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’ve known women who have kept their maiden names legally and professionally but have gone by their husbands’ last names socially.  This option seems to work fairly well for them, although your point about children, school etc. is a good one. Still, I think you could do this fairly successfully without too much turmoil.

The other option you’re considering I do not think will fly in the U.S., at least not in every state. I wanted to do the same thing — but have my maiden name as a second middle name not as one of two last names, and the DMV in the state where I was living when I got married would not allow me to do that on my driver’s license. Furthermore, the person there specifically told me that they also would not permit any two-name, non-hyphenated last names either (although I was not personally looking to do this.)

I know you said that you definitely do not want to make your maiden name your middle name. However, I truly think this option may offer you the cleanest solution, because it would allow you to share the same last name as your husband and any potential future children, while also allowing you to maintain continuity of your identity without having to have a very long, hyphenated last name.

This is what I did, and I honestly could not be happier with the results.  I found it especially helpful at work, because my former-last-name-turned-middle-name was still there in our e-mail system, on all of my work documents/products, etc. I also found it to work very well for me in terms of having mail delivered to my new address, as mail that was still being sent to Jane A. Smith easily found its way to Jane Smith Doe.

Some of the other benefits include the fact that my legal name IS my facebook name (while, for so many of my friends, this is not the case), and I can use the “Mrs.” honorific (which someone who keeps her own last name or who has a compound or hyphenated last name cannot properly do.)

The topic ‘Please Help me with my name-changing confusion’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors