Calling all recently married women: to change your name or not the change your name? Have you already been asked this a few dozen times? Here we look at giving you some information about changing your name, the pros and cons of changing your name after marriage and if you decide to go ahead, how to change your name after getting married. The main question are you going to change your maiden name (surname before marriage) and if so, to what. If not, what name are you going to take?
There is no legal requirement to change your surname after getting married. It is the woman’s own choice, although by tradition it is generally expected. After marriage, there are two legal options available to women (men have no legal right to change name). A woman can:
1. continue to use her maiden name; or
2. change her maiden name to her husband’s surname. If a woman decides to take her husband’s surname, the marriage certificate provides the necessary documentary evidence of change of name.
Changing from your maiden name to your husband’s surname is the traditional and easiest option. Also in modern times it is still the preferred option of brides. A husband and wife with the same surname makes life easier and less confusing to others when making joint arrangements eg bank accounts etc. This is especially so when children are involved.
To achieve this, after your marriage, send your marriage certificate (you will need an original or a certified copy. The latter are obtained by paying a professional person a small fee usually £5 for them to certify a copy of the original for you) to all government departments, companies and organisations so they can amend your records. Check out our to do list as regards who to notify.
If you decide to change your name as above then the following forms of address will apply to you. If your maiden name is Sandra Tush and you marry Paul Jenson, you will be formally known as Sandra Jenson or Mrs Sandra Jenson. Together, you would be formally known as Mr and Mrs Paul Jenson.
Still using your maiden name
If you continue using your maiden name after marriage, the convention is to replace the title Miss by Ms (pronounced miz). This option is popular for professional women, especially if they have an established name in their business or profession. However, many women using Ms for this reason, will take their husband’s surname outside the workplace.
Unrelated to marriage, many women use Ms if they feel that information about their marital status is not relevant in their business life.
Changing the husband’s name
The husband could change his name to your maiden name upon marriage. If you plan on doing this, you simply continue using your maiden name after marriage. However, the husband will need to take additional steps to change his name. The husband can just start using his new name after marriage. However, if he wishes to get all his records and documents changed he should execute a change of name by Deed Poll -see below.
Taking both surnames as a hyphenated double barrelled name
It is an increasingly popular option to take each other’s surname after marriage in any order eg Smith-Brown or Brown-Smith). The use of a hyphen between the combined surnames is optional. If you decide upon this option you should both have your names changed by Deed Poll after marriage.
To save on additional expense of a combined Deed Poll, the husband-to-be should change his name to the hyphenated name before you get married. The wife will then automatically take the new hyphenated surname upon marriage. You should change your names in this way if you wish to get your passports changed in advance of your marriage, enabling you to travel on your overseas honeymoon using your new hyphenated name. See below for details of changing your name in your passport.
Using maiden name as a middle name
If you propose taking your husband’s surname but still wish to keep your maiden name , consider having your maiden name as a middle name. This option is used throughout the world and overcomes any feelings of pretentiousness about using a hyphenated name. Again, if you wish to have all your records and documents changed, you need to change you name by Deed Poll.
Who to notify upon change of name
There are many organisations and companies that need to be advised. Also, if you are moving home after marriage, you will also need to advise them of your new address. See our list if who t advise when you change your name.
Passport and change of name
A woman can get her passport changed before getting married. This is to allow you to travel on your overseas honeymoon using your new name. However, the new passport will not be valid until the date of your marriage.
Although we refer to Deed Poll, this also includes Statutory Declaration, which is another method of changing your name. To change your name by Statutory Declaration, it is usual to have the document drafted and sworn before a solicitor. However changing your name by Deed Poll is simpler.