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. 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. Cut to two years later, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Can I hyphenate my last name without legally changing it? The law is, you can use whatever name you want, provided it is not done for fraudulent purposes. “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. Get new checks, notify the post office, and update your medical records and insurance. 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. 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. Most of the time, it’s 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. Your legal right to change your child’s last name does not depend on your custody arrangement. 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. Images: Pexels; Giphy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). You can't change a child’s name through a divorce. 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. Meet the Expert 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. You're not required legally to do so, but you can change your name on major social media platforms and blogs. If you decide to change your last name when you get married, you don’t need a court order. Do I need his persmission to do this? I am trying to renew my passport at the moment. You’ll need to make government agencies, businesses, family, and friends aware of your new name. 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 husband’s. But if you do feel overwhelmed by navigating the name change process yourself, consider outside help. 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. This name change option allows you to have both surnames but use them interchangeably. Here, we're exploring the last option, hyphenating your last name, with help from expert Valerie Freeman. To hyphen or change it back would require going through the court to change it back to my maiden name, which is a hassle. Changing, not changing, and hyphenating one’s name are all completely valid options, and I thought long and hard about each one. 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. 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. Not all states require that you file your name change in court, but some states do. That was only the beginning.”. 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. 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. You can change your name as you see fit. In order to legally change your child's last name in Texas, you must obtain a court order. Filling out a Petition for Name Change can be fairly straightforward. or ! Hyphenate your name, or both of you can hyphenate your names. 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. Your name change should appear on your Decree of Dissolution (a.k.a. While you can name yourself some pretty unique things, there are a few concrete rules about name changes by which you must abide. According to latest statistics, roughly 10% married women hyphenate their last names. 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. 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. Other things you should do? But can you have two last names while your partner only has one? 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. For now, at least. So, you can get away with a lot regarding names, as long as it is not intended to defraud anyone. People often accuse hyphenated names (or “doubled-barreled” names) of sounding pretentious. You also can’t change your name to commit fraud, evade law enforcement, or avoid paying any debts you owe. 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. 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. It also costs a small amount of money to get forms notarized. 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. but you will need to use your legal name everywhere else (at work, on your personal accounts, when signing your name… 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. two-parter of a surname. Some states also require that you advertise your new name by publishing it in a newspaper. 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. If either my husband or I had had a one-syllable name, I imagine my experience would be a bit different. Her dad and I are actually still together, but I do not want to get married. As with many facets of life, the only solution is to do your own thing and not care what other people think. Legally changing your name, whether for marriage, divorce, or another reason, can be a big life event. 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. 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). 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. 4. You can’t name yourself after a celebrity (because that could be viewed as intentionally misleading), a trademarked name, a numeral (like 4 or 8), a punctuation mark (like ? All rights reserved. According to FindLaw, most states prohibit changing your name to escape debt, hide from criminal liability, or to commit a … 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. In California, for example, you can technically choose a new name and start using it consistently under the state’s usage method. 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. Many people change their name when they get married, as well as for other personal or professional reasons. 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]. Eventually I figured I would get through the whole wedding shebang first and then make my decision when life had quieted down. 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. 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. . This implies joining your last name and your groom’s last name with a hyphen. 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. 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. 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. 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. Change of plans and no chance of that happening, so I would like to add my last name hyphenated with hers. Although it’s important to notify people of your new name, doing it too soon could create logistical problems. I have one, which means that the hyphen is actually part of my legal name. Similarly, if two upper-class families joined through marriage, the couple might take a combined name to signify their connections to both lineages. 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. On my old passport, my last names are not hyphenated, but on my birth certificate, my last names are hyphenated. 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. Option 4: Take your maiden name as a middle name and your spouse’s last name I have to say, “Wait, go back! I’m Nigel Pipp-Haverstock — you know, of the Sheffield Pipp-Haverstocks.” (So, basically, a P.G. “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. Wodehouse novel). 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. Obtaining a legal name change varies depending on the residence of the applicants. “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. It's completely up to you whether you take on your spouse’s surname after marriage. 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. Some couples decide to have both partners change to the hyphenated last name, as a show of unity and equality. 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 spouse’s name may seem like a concession to conservative notions of femininity. c. 208, § 1A) (CJD-101A), or Counterclaim for Divorce (CJD-202). ), or something offensive or obscene. (Spoiler: I did not). HitchSwitch founder Jake Wolff adds, “Our goal is to streamline and take the mystery out of this intimidating process.". 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 … When a Name Change for a Child Will Be Approved Without Consent. 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. State law governs what you can name yourself. Even after changing to a hyphenating last name, one may want to use either of the two names for the sake of convenience. Insurance companies won’t cover a hysterectomy for legal males, for example. 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. 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. 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? If you don’t like your birth name, you can legally change it to whatever you want … with a few exceptions. And that’s enough to make me want to keep my name, all bulky 19 characters of it. 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. 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”? 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. 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. 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, . A legal name change does not require an attorney and can be completed by yourself. However, some states require women to legally change their name … My daughter has the same last name as her dad and I don't want to have a different last name than her. Two completely different issues: 1) Can you use you new husband's name without legally changing your own? So make sure to do your research and check your state’s legal name change laws before you consider changing your name. 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. You can probably tell from my byline which route I chose. I hyphenated my last name without consent from anyone, but it was a weird situation. 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. 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