Name Change - Yes? No?

When getting married you have to consider name change.

Young girls have all scribbled on their notebooks "Mrs. 'insert the latest and hottest boy's name here."' We probably weren't thinking about the legal and social implications of a name change to that of her new husband.

Women have a choice to make. Do I hyphenate? Do I change my last name when I’m known in my profession by my maiden name?

When I do change my name, do I lose a part of my identity?

Or if I don't, do I correct people when they call me "Mrs. Smith"?

Traditional social etiquette dictates that women should adopt their husbands' surnames upon marriage. Women were once considered property and to change their name showed this to be the case. There are no legal or social reasons for this. Name change shows one's commitment to your spouse.

Questions of identity may be of importance when deciding whether or not to change your name after marriage. Losing part of your ethnic heritage by changing your name may be a concern.

Many women are concerned about the confusion their kids may encounter when mom has a different last name. Women who are in professional fields are may be less likely to do a name change even though the confusion may exist.

When women began to assume a more professional role in the workplace the number of women keeping their maiden names also increased. Maybe be this was because women tended to marry later in life and because of their new professional positions they had made a name for themselves. This trend has turned around and is now going the other way. Women, no matter their position, are now more than likely to change their last name to their husbands. This will probably change again because these things tend to recycle.

If you change you name remember to notify those who have the need to know. Here is a list of places to consider:

  • 1. Social Security
  • 2. IRS
  • 3. DMV (driver's license and vehicle registration)
  • 4. Voter Registration
  • 5. Passport Agency
  • 6. Employer
  • 7. Banks
  • 8. Credit Card Companies
  • 9. Investment/Brokerage Houses
  • 10. Car Insurance
  • 11. Medical Insurance
  • 12. Home/Renters Insurance
  • 13. Accountant
  • 14. Lawyer
  • 15. Doctors
  • 16. Dentist
  • 17. Utilities (water, gas, electric)
  • 18. Phone Company
  • 19. Cell Phone Company
  • 20. Airlines/Frequent Flyer
  • 21. Magazines
  • 22. Schools/Alumni Organizations
  • 23. Your Mother
Remember, there may be more places than those listed here and that many of them will need more than just a phone call or letter.

Though the process of name change notification is tedious, you can get a Name Change Kit for Brides that will include forms and a checklist to help you along.

Wait until you get back from your honeymoon before you start this project and remember, the marriage is the most important thing.

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