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Should You Change Your Name?


Couples have many more choices than they did in the past. Today people can get married or stay single, have babies or remain childless, and go to work or be stay-at-home parents. And women can keep their name when they get married or change it. Sometimes, men change their names, too. The choice is up to you. Here is some help for those who can't decide whether to change their name:

Reasons to Change

Bride and groom hands
Nerida McMurray Photography/Digital Vision/Getty Images
You will have one family name that you will share with your future children should you have them.

Having the same monogram would make it easier to get fancy towels for the bathroom and stationery.

Documents – from joint bank accounts to house deeds – will be more uniform and, perhaps, less complicated in executing.

People will know you are a married couple because you’ll be Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Your husband, and his family, might be appreciative and feel honored that you’ve taken his last name.

Changing your name could be seen as a symbol of your unity as a couple.

Reasons Not to Change

To change your name, you must fill out many forms and change many documents – from your driver’s license to your Social Security card. It can be a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare.

Google will see you as a whole new person with zero entries – at least at first.

Your e-mail address may include your maiden name, which might confuse people or result in missed e-mails. The same is probably true for snail mail, which means you’ll have to change both of those.

You’re giving up a part of your family identity.

If you’ve always used your maiden name professionally, a new last name could make it difficult for colleagues and potential employers to track you down once you’ve changed your name.

Compromises for Changing Your Name

Hyphenate your maiden name and your married name, so you get the best of both worlds. Some progressive husbands hyphenate their name to reflect the union as well. (Men might need to check with an attorney to find out about the legal procedures in their state for changing their name.)

Legally change your name but maintain your maiden name in professional circles.

Make your maiden name your middle name. Some people even make their child’s middle name the same as mom’s maiden name, so both sides of the family are recognized.

Come up with a unique last name and both husband and wife change. 

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