Get new checks, notify the post office, and update your medical records and insurance. Changing, not changing, and hyphenating one’s name are all completely valid options, and I thought long and hard about each one. So make sure to do your research and check your state’s legal name change laws before you consider changing your name. 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. 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). In my case, my decision to hyphenate my name with my husband’s was the result of a weird mix of careful consideration and spur-of-the-moment decision-making. “You won't be legally recognized by your new name until you've submitted applications with the Social Security Administration, DMV, etc.”. 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. Other things you should do? 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. Hyphenate your name, or both of you can hyphenate your names. 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]. 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 … It also costs a small amount of money to get forms notarized. Hyphenated Last name by: Anonymous Question: I am turning 18 in a few weeks, and my passport has not been renewed for about 6 years. 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. You can probably tell from my byline which route I chose. 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. 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. If you don’t like your birth name, you can legally change it to whatever you want … with a few exceptions. There is no legal custody agreement. So, you can get away with a lot regarding names, as long as it is not intended to defraud anyone. You’ll need to make government agencies, businesses, family, and friends aware of your new name. On my old passport, my last names are not hyphenated, but on my birth certificate, my last names are hyphenated. A legal name change does not require an attorney and can be completed by yourself. You can change your name as you see fit. 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. Obtaining a legal name change varies depending on the residence of the applicants. 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. I’ve 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 — the one that raised me and the new one I’ve made with my husband. Wodehouse novel). 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. 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. But even though I felt that hyphenating would suit me best in an ideal world, I kept wondering if it wouldn’t work for me on a practical level in the real one. My fiancé and I are getting married in April. Filling out a Petition for Name Change can be fairly straightforward. To be fair, most people in the world don’t blink an eye at my hyphenated name, but once in a while people — especially if they have to get me to spell out my name or enter it into a computer — will act as if I chose my extra-long, punctuation-having name just to make life harder for them. Images: Pexels; Giphy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). 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. I have one, which means that the hyphen is actually part of my legal name. Can I hyphenate my last name without legally changing it? 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, “What ho! Just write your new last name on your marriage license and show your marriage certificate (not license) to places such as the DMV, your bank, and Social Security Administration as proof of your new last name. I am trying to renew my passport at the moment. This name change option allows you to have both surnames but use them interchangeably. 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. All rights reserved. Currently waiting on a call back from social security regarding this question. 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. 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. c. 208, § 1A) (CJD-101A), or Counterclaim for Divorce (CJD-202). However, some states require women to legally change their name … In other cases, you must make certain legal notice is … “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. Similarly, if two upper-class families joined through marriage, the couple might take a combined name to signify their connections to both lineages. . 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. Except that’s not what happened. Option 4: Take your maiden name as a middle name and your spouse’s last name I gave my daughter her father's last name when she was born almost 3 years ago, thinking it would eventually be my last name also. In order to legally change your child's last name in Texas, you must obtain a court order. But if you do feel overwhelmed by navigating the name change process yourself, consider outside help. Change of plans and no chance of that happening, so I would like to add my last name hyphenated with hers. “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. You can use a hyphenated last name in informal social settings (on social media, amongst friends, etc.) 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. 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!) The law is, you can use whatever name you want, provided it is not done for fraudulent purposes. Some people who combine their names include a hyphen in the middle and some don’t. 2021 Bustle Digital Group. There is no decision that a married woman can make about her name that won't have someone, somewhere judging her for it — 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? 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. 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, . 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. Some states also require that you advertise your new name by publishing it in a newspaper. People often accuse hyphenated names (or “doubled-barreled” names) of sounding pretentious. It’s 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 spouse’s name. I have her the majority of the time. “It might seem obvious, but we get several inquiries a year for people needing to make a legal name change because of a misspelling.”. It's completely up to you whether you take on your spouse’s surname after marriage. 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. For now, at least. 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. If you have legal documents like a will or trust, you’ll want to look into changing them as well. but you will need to use your legal name everywhere else (at work, on your personal accounts, when signing your name… or ! This implies joining your last name and your groom’s last name with a hyphen. 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. You're not required legally to do so, but you can change your name on major social media platforms and blogs. My maiden name was fairly long, and his wasn’t much shorter, and although I liked the sound of the two together (“Rutherford-Morrison”), I kept waffling about it and wondering if I should just choose one or the other. A child’s legal name will be the name on their birth certificate which is used for legal, administrative and official purposes. However, if you have a specific URL (website address), changing that will be more difficult and time-consuming than just changing your name … And that’s enough to make me want to keep my name, all bulky 19 characters of it. 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. To hyphen or change it back would require going through the court to change it back to my maiden name, which is a hassle. Two completely different issues: 1) Can you use you new husband's name without legally changing your own? Services such as I’m a Mrs. and HitchSwitch can also simplify the name change process by putting all the forms and instructions you need in one place. 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. 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. Not all states require that you file your name change in court, but some states do. Your name change should appear on your Decree of Dissolution (a.k.a. Divorce Decree), then you can start using your maiden name again. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s annoying, especially since most people stop when I get to the end of the first half and attempt to move on. 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 ‘ … Once you’ve gotten married and you’re ready to change your name, you’ll need your marriage license to make it happen.. Keep in mind that if you’re changing your name to a hyphenated last name or a different name altogether, there are some signatures you’ll need to be aware of ahead of time. Additionally, it can take several weeks to notify the passport office of your new married name, so if you’re traveling internationally for your honeymoon, use your maiden name (to match the name on your passport) to book flights. 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. According to FindLaw, most states prohibit changing your name to escape debt, hide from criminal liability, or to commit a … Your legal right to change your child’s last name does not depend on your custody arrangement. If you want to change your child's surname, there are some circumstances when a name change [1] petition will be approved without the consent of both parents:. 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. “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. When you hyphenate, the hyphen makes it obvious that you’ve chosen to combine names (although, to be fair, some people have hyphenated names given to them by their parents). If either my husband or I had had a one-syllable name, I imagine my experience would be a bit different. While you can name yourself some pretty unique things, there are a few concrete rules about name changes by which you must abide. 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. (Spoiler: I did not). ), or something offensive or obscene. When I’m doing things that don’t require my legal name, like making dinner reservations, I’ll often just use one of my names to save time explaining the situation on the phone. 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. You can't change a child’s name through a divorce. And if you get divorced and want to legally change your name back to your maiden name, you can usually get the judge to take care of that during the divorce proceedings. When you get married, there are a lot of important decisions to make, like “Do I want a wedding cake?”, “Do I want a joint checking account?”, and “Do I want to marry this person?” (You should probably answer that last one first). That said, if you’re thinking of hyphenating, these are some of the things you can expect to happen: 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 have to warn them, “OK, it’s in two parts, so bear with me,” take a deep breath, and start spelling. Changing your name after marriage or divorce is a relatively simple process. 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. Do I need his persmission to do this? 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. Companies such as LegalZoom offer packages that streamline the name change process, giving you the paperwork you need to fill out for your state. Hyphenating a name generally occurs when a woman gets married and keeps her maiden name while taking on her husband's last name. 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. 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. 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 … Legally changing your name, whether for marriage, divorce, or another reason, can be a big life event. 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. Eventually I figured I would get through the whole wedding shebang first and then make my decision when life had quieted down. Some couples decide to have both partners change to the hyphenated last name, as a show of unity and equality. 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 “Rutherfordmorris.” Computers and people alike often don’t know how to alphabetize my last name — am I an “R” or an “M”? Here, we're exploring the last option, hyphenating your last name, with help from expert Valerie Freeman. Some women show their marriage license as proof of their newly hyphenated name. If you decide to change your last name when you get married, you don’t need a court order. 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 husband’s name and the idea of changing my name to reflect my partnership with him and our new family. According to latest statistics, roughly 10% married women hyphenate their last names. My daughter has the same last name as her dad and I don't want to have a different last name than her. 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. 4. Cut to two years later, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. One of the more difficult questions you’ll face is “Will I change my name?” There are three main options from which most women choose: Keeping their maiden name, taking their spouse’s name, or hyphenating to combine the two. Although it’s important to notify people of your new name, doing it too soon could create logistical problems. You also can’t change your name to commit fraud, evade law enforcement, or avoid paying any debts you owe. 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