The process of name change is generally less cumbersome. This implies joining your last name and your groom’s last name with a hyphen. If you decide to go through and seek a court-ordered name change, the first step usually involves filing a petition with your local court clerk. Computers (and, frankly, a lot of the people who use them) often have trouble with the hyphen and with the fact that I have a multipart name. Except thatâs not what happened. I hyphenated my last name without consent from anyone, but it was a weird situation. For now, at least. I already changed my name. I know from personal experience that changing your name informally is physically possible, but, 5, 10 (or in my case 27) years down the line, when you apply for a loan, security clearance, passport, . Have Your Spouse Take Your Last Name. So, you can get away with a lot regarding names, as long as it is not intended to defraud anyone. If you want to change your child's surname, there are some circumstances when a name change  petition will be approved without the consent of both parents:. Similarly, if two upper-class families joined through marriage, the couple might take a combined name to signify their connections to both lineages. Your name change should appear on your Decree of Dissolution (a.k.a. In most states, you have to pay a fee (usually $150 to $200) to file your name change petition in court. two-parter of a surname. Some women show their marriage license as proof of their newly hyphenated name. For people who are pro-name-changing, your choice to keep your maiden name may seem like a rejection of traditional values; but, for those who are against name changing, your decision to take on your spouseâs name may seem like a concession to conservative notions of femininity. You can use a hyphenated last name in informal social settings (on social media, amongst friends, etc.) “We save our members time by auto-populating forms, pre-drafting emails, and providing specific contact details and tips on organizations’ preferred method to submit name changes,” explains Stayner. My daughter has the same last name as her dad and I don't want to have a different last name than her. However, if you have a specific URL (website address), changing that will be more difficult and time-consuming than just changing your name … I am trying to renew my passport at the moment. A child’s legal name will be the name on their birth certificate which is used for legal, administrative and official purposes. I looked into changing my last name legally and I don't have the money and cant take the time off work right now to go through the legal process. That was only the beginning.â. Changing your name after marriage or divorce is a relatively simple process. Many people believe that in a marriage one spouse is required to legally change their last name to match the other spouse's last name. You must follow some guidelines, such as, you cannot change your name to a famous person, you cannot change your name to avoid legal issues and you cannot change your name to one that is demeaning or has a negative connotation. I like my double-barreled name, but even I sometimes feel a little ridiculous using it, as if I should be in a period film populated by people who swan around saying things like, âWhat ho! Meet the Expert According to latest statistics, roughly 10% married women hyphenate their last names. The federal courts have ruled again and again that changing your name at will or, by “common law” is every citizen’s right under the U.S. Constitution. that if the name you are using doesn't match your birth certificate, and you don't have a name change decree or a marriage record, the government will make you jump through an awful lot of hoops. (Spoiler: I did not). My fiancé and I are getting married in April. While you can name yourself some pretty unique things, there are a few concrete rules about name changes by which you must abide. Each province and territory has different procedures involving changing a person’s name, depending on their age and the circumstances under which they want it changed. Changing, not changing, and hyphenating oneâs name are all completely valid options, and I thought long and hard about each one. In order to legally change your child's last name in Texas, you must obtain a court order. There is no decision that a married woman can make about her name that won't have someone, somewhere judging her for it â if she keeps her maiden name, she must be a man-hating feminist, and if she changes her name, she must be a slave to the patriarchy, right? You can't change a child’s name through a divorce. I suppose I'm trying to figure out if I can using my maiden name professionally WITHOUT legally changing it, or if I HAVE to use my married name all the time because that's my legal name. . If you're getting divorced and want to resume a name you have legally had in the past, you can ask to resume this former name in your Complaint for divorce (CJD-101), Joint Petition for Divorce form (pursuant to G.L. Hyphenating a name generally occurs when a woman gets married and keeps her maiden name while taking on her husband's last name. “You won't be legally recognized by your new name until you've submitted applications with the Social Security Administration, DMV, etc.”. Long story short, after all of my indecisive dillydallying, I had to make a quick decision right then, so I bit the bullet and put the two names together, a hyphen in the middle. A child’s legal name can only be changed via deed poll or through a change of the child’s birth certificate in certain circumstances (see ‘ Changing a child’s name via the birth certificate ‘ … It was important that someone searching for me under my old last name would still find me, and that e-mail sent out would immediately be recognized.” Set up forwarding where necessary . When you hyphenate, the hyphen makes it obvious that youâve chosen to combine names (although, to be fair, some people have hyphenated names given to them by their parents). When Iâm doing things that donât require my legal name, like making dinner reservations, Iâll often just use one of my names to save time explaining the situation on the phone. The first way is to get the consent of the mother. In the United States, a legal name change can be obtained through a court order and any US citizen has the right to change his/her name … Hyphenate your name, or both of you can hyphenate your names. If either my husband or I had had a one-syllable name, I imagine my experience would be a bit different. Finally, transgender people who are undergoing sex change operations should proceed with caution when changing their names with their health insurance companies to avoid confusion and ensure coverage. People legally change their first, middle, or last names for a variety of reasons: Major life changes—getting married, divorced, or undergoing a gender reassignment—might catalyze a name change, or people might just hate the name they were born with. If you are the father of a child whose last name is different than yours, there are two main ways to change the child’s last name. I have to say, âWait, go back! Two completely different issues: 1) Can you use you new husband's name without legally changing your own? Even after changing to a hyphenating last name, one may want to use either of the two names for the sake of convenience. If you have some sort of documentation that contradict each other, for instance, school information and birth certificate, they'll change it on you social security card, and therefore it can be changed on your licence. It also costs a small amount of money to get forms notarized. If this doesn’t work, you can ask a court to change the child’s name over the objection of the mother under Article 6 of the NY Civil Rights Law . “The biggest thing to keep in mind about any name change is that it is a process, rather than a one-stop shop,” says Anna Phipps, VP of Experience at HitchSwitch, a name change service geared towards newlyweds. . The upside is that when you get to the restaurant and have to offer multiple names to find the one under which you actually made the reservation, people assume you are a super spy struggling to keep track of her many secret identities. But then that means that people end up being confused about what my name actually is, and there are times when I can't even remember which of my names I used. Note that the process to change a last name due to divorce, adoption or paternity action is different than if you are changing the name for other reasons. While this may sound scary, for a legal name change it is often just a matter of filling out a form and going to court in some cases. In most states, men and women can legally change their last name to their new spouse’s surname, hyphenate their two surnames, or create a new amalgamation of their surnames (like when actors Alexa Vega and Carlos Pena got married in 2014, and changed both of their last names to PenaVega). As with many facets of life, the only solution is to do your own thing and not care what other people think. Itâs the same when you hyphenate, with a slight difference: When you keep only one name, a stranger doesn't immediately know whether your name is your maiden name or your spouseâs name. Anyone is free to keep their own name, hyphenate their name with a spouse's name, take their spouse's name, or come up with a completely different name altogether. First, apprise the Social Security Administration of your new name, then notify the IRS and the DMV—you may need to get a new driver’s license. When we went to get our marriage license a few days before the wedding, my soon-to-be-husband and I discovered that in our state, we were required to declare any name changes on the license, which we needed that day; if I waited until after the wedding to decide, I would have had to go through the standard (and fairly involved) court process of a legal name change if I wanted to take his name or hyphenate. Following a marriage or civil partnership, a person can take the name of their spouse or civil partner simply by providing a copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate to the relevant offices (such as the passport office, DVLA, benefits agencies and your bank or building society). A legal name change does not require an attorney and can be completed by yourself. But realistically, you might still need a court order to show as proof of your name change to banks, the SSA, or the DMV because these organizations are wary of identity theft. Today, that is simply not the case. No matter where you live, do your research (your state government’s website is a good place to start) to make sure you’re following your state’s protocol. On my old passport, my last names are not hyphenated, but on my birth certificate, my last names are hyphenated. 4. My issue is I have a ton of certifications in my maiden name; therefore, if I hyphenate my last name with my maiden and married name (Holcombe-Matthews) can I use either or last name on legal documents. I have one, which means that the hyphen is actually part of my legal name. Images: Pexels; Giphy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Many people change their name when they get married, as well as for other personal or professional reasons. You could choose to take your spouse's last name, hyphenate your last names, or in some states, choose a new last name unrelated to either your name or your spouse's name. Not really. The laws in every state are different and you'll want to make sure you're doing it by the book, including filing your legal name change petition with the appropriate government entity. Currently waiting on a call back from social security regarding this question. Changing Your Name Without Going to Court [Not to be confused with Changing Your Name in a Common-Law Marriage, this article covers the idea that one could change his or her name simply by using that name regularly]. Again, someone who hyphenates with shorter names might have a different experience from mine, but every time someone asks me to spell my last name over the phone, I … couples may create a new last name that they both use, and; some spouses keep their own surnames, but hyphenate their children’s last names. However, some states require women to legally change their name … Most of the time, itâs not a big deal, but when dealing with plane tickets, medical records, and other nit picky situations, it can be a huge pain in the ass. Divorce Decree), then you can start using your maiden name again. In a situation where parental rights of one parent have been legally terminated, the other parent may change the child's last name without permission. And if you’re getting married, you may want to pay for additional certified copies of your marriage certificate to use as proof of your new last name. Change of plans and no chance of that happening, so I would like to add my last name hyphenated with hers. If you don’t like your birth name, you can legally change it to whatever you want … with a few exceptions. HitchSwitch founder Jake Wolff adds, “Our goal is to streamline and take the mystery out of this intimidating process.". Don’t forget to tell banks, credit card companies, utility companies, and mortgage or loan companies about your new name, and make a list of any identification documents—like your passport—that you’ll need to update. Eventually I figured I would get through the whole wedding shebang first and then make my decision when life had quieted down. In my case, my decision to hyphenate my name with my husbandâs was the result of a weird mix of careful consideration and spur-of-the-moment decision-making. 2021 Bustle Digital Group. Even if you have sole legal and physical custody, the court might not allow you to change her last name if her other parent maintains a frequent and loving relationship with her and if he objects. Do I need his persmission to do this? According to FindLaw, most states prohibit changing your name to escape debt, hide from criminal liability, or to commit a … But even though I felt that hyphenating would suit me best in an ideal world, I kept wondering if it wouldnât work for me on a practical level in the real one. But can you have two last names while your partner only has one? All rights reserved. Changing Your Name Through Common Usage. If you have legal documents like a will or trust, you’ll want to look into changing them as well. You can change your name as you see fit. Here, we're exploring the last option, hyphenating your last name, with help from expert Valerie Freeman. Even with all the headaches the name can cause, it feels right to me to retain the name with which I grew up, but at the same time call myself something that reflects a major milestone in my life. Option 4: Take your maiden name as a middle name and your spouse’s last name State law governs what you can name yourself. Some states also require that you advertise your new name by publishing it in a newspaper. Iâve written a lot about the hassle that goes along with a hyphenated name, but there is one thing I quite like about it: Every time I use it, I am reminded of my two families â the one that raised me and the new one Iâve made with my husband. We don’t see this happen all that often, but men can take the last name of their spouse, too. You're not required legally to do so, but you can change your name on major social media platforms and blogs. or ! Although it may be seem daunting to show up at court or fill out legal paperwork, you don’t need to hire a lawyer to change your name. If you’re considering getting a legal name change, here are seven things you should know. There is no legal custody agreement. (Clearly, we would all be better off if we could simply stop judging people for the choices they have every right to make). “Wait until you get your official paperwork (court papers, marriage certificate, divorce decree) in hand before starting to change your name broadly—you’ll save a lot of time this way,” says Stayner. Her dad and I are actually still together, but I do not want to get married. Can I hyphenate my last name without legally changing it? Iâm Nigel Pipp-Haverstock â you know, of the Sheffield Pipp-Haverstocks.â (So, basically, a P.G. Some people who combine their names include a hyphen in the middle and some donât. Much like hyphenating your last name, this option allows people to still recognize who you are at a glance without making a big formal announcement that you’ll now be going by another name entirely. To hyphen or change it back would require going through the court to change it back to my maiden name, which is a hassle. Obtaining a legal document such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court granted petition will allow you to change your name but won't make your name change official, explains Phipps. I kept coming back to hyphenating because I loved my maiden name and wanted to keep it (and there were some professional considerations involved), but I also loved my husbandâs name and the idea of changing my name to reflect my partnership with him and our new family. There are things I love about my new name, but I was right to be worried about the practical implications of having a very long (19 characters!) Wodehouse novel). Waiting can also help you preserve your good credit because you don’t want to lose credit history that you’ve built under your old name. Cut to two years later, and Iâm still not sure how I feel about it. Obtaining a legal name change varies depending on the residence of the applicants. “It might seem obvious, but we get several inquiries a year for people needing to make a legal name change because of a misspelling.”. People often accuse hyphenated names (or âdoubled-barreledâ names) of sounding pretentious. Some couples decide to have both partners change to the hyphenated last name, as a show of unity and equality. Other things you should do? Companies such as LegalZoom offer packages that streamline the name change process, giving you the paperwork you need to fill out for your state. And thatâs enough to make me want to keep my name, all bulky 19 characters of it. Itâs not the end of the world, but itâs annoying, especially since most people stop when I get to the end of the first half and attempt to move on. Although it’s important to notify people of your new name, doing it too soon could create logistical problems. You can go the "traditional" route and list your "maiden" name first, or you could choose to list your new last name first, followed by your original last name. Not all states require that you file your name change in court, but some states do. Your legal right to change your child’s last name does not depend on your custody arrangement. This is probably due to an English tradition in which doubled (or even tripled) up names are a way of demonstrating one's heritage; in this tradition, for instance, an upper-class woman could marry and retain the status of her unmarried name by grafting it on to her husbandâs. When you have a hyphenated name, you can expect that people will make assumptions about who you are as a person, but their expectations will reflect their points of view more than your own. I have her the majority of the time. Insurance companies won’t cover a hysterectomy for legal males, for example. Get new checks, notify the post office, and update your medical records and insurance. Sometimes in computer systems the hyphen will disappear, or one of the two names will be deleted, or my long name will get turned into something like âRutherfordmorris.â Computers and people alike often donât know how to alphabetize my last name â am I an âRâ or an âMâ? You will need to sign all legal documents with both names, but you can introduce yourself with one last name, thus forgoing the mouthful that hyphenated last names can create. The process is pretty straightforward. This name change option allows you to have both surnames but use them interchangeably. You also can’t change your name to commit fraud, evade law enforcement, or avoid paying any debts you owe. Jo-Anne Stayner of I'm a Mrs. Name Change Service recommends that people who are legally changing their name make sure they’re 100 percent certain of the spelling and format of their new name. But if you do feel overwhelmed by navigating the name change process yourself, consider outside help. In California, for example, you can technically choose a new name and start using it consistently under the state’s usage method. To be fair, most people in the world donât blink an eye at my hyphenated name, but once in a while people â especially if they have to get me to spell out my name or enter it into a computer â will act as if I chose my extra-long, punctuation-having name just to make life harder for them. If you decide to change your last name when you get married, you don’t need a court order. It's completely up to you whether you take on your spouse’s surname after marriage. So make sure to do your research and check your state’s legal name change laws before you consider changing your name. 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