Name changing 101: what you need to know

When you were young, you may have played around with what you might call yourself if you were to marry your crush. Chances are, you probably swapped your last name for theirs (and drew it inside a love heart for good measure), but now that you are on the path to getting married for real, you need to know there are so many more options.

So, let us begin a lesson in Name Changing 101! First things first, what you choose to do (or not do) with your surname once you are married is completely up to you and your partner. It might be worth a little chat together to see how you both feel about the following options. Here’s the lowdown on name changing 101:

name changing 101

Take your partner’s name

This is how it has been traditionally, and a large volume of married couples still go down this path. It is pretty straight-forward as a marriage certificate is all you need to get this process underway (see more below). Closeup of Marriage Certificate License Paper

Partially take your partner’s name

Those who have built a career around their name and have become recognised by it are understandably not quite willing to give their surname up completely. A compromise here is to legally change your surname to your partner’s, but continue to use your maiden name in all things professional.

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Keep your name as it is

The other all-or-nothing option is to keep moving forward as you have in the past when it comes to your moniker. This will save you a ton of paperwork and you can always change your name prefix to Mrs for documents so you can still enjoy a small change from marriage.

You can also take on your partner’s name informally and use it socially without having to change it legally. This is called Name by Association. Just remember that if you choose to do it this way, your maiden name will still be used in all documentation.

Man signing documents, unrecognizable person

Hyphenate

If you would like to have a sense of equality when it comes to your surname, you could look at hyphenating it with your partner’s. Forget about traditions that dictate whose name should come first and have a bit of fun playing around with how your surnames sound both ways and decide from there.

Romantic young couple share a toast

Turn your surname into a middle name

If you are happy to forego your surname but don’t want to lose it completely, you could look at transforming it into a middle name.

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The hybrid

Much the same as you are blending your lives together in marriage to start afresh, you can consider meshing your surnames together – Brangelina style! For example, if you have Pugh as a surname and your partner is Griffin, you could go for Puffin.

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Go unique

There are ways for you and your partner to both legally change your surnames to something completely different if you so choose. How romantic is it to be able to start a brand new family tree together?

The next step in this name changing 101 is what to do if you want to make the switch?

Check out this article on How to Change Your Name for the low-down.

name changing 101

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