The Double Barrelled Last Name Debate

(62 Posts)
PhieEl06 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:16:54

So OH & I cannot agree on last name, we aren't married & probably won't be for a very long while, he wants baby (sex not yet known) to have his last name only, a very uncommon 3 syllable name. I want baby's last name to be double barrelled so my very common 1 syllable name then OH last name. My reasons for this being that at the moment we aren't married I haven't got his last name, there are no plans for us to be getting married & baby could well be in teens before this is a reality as silly as it seems I don't want to feel like my family has no connection to our child, if we do for double barrelled & we eventually get married I will either double barrel my name or change our child's to just his but obviously this could be a long way off. OH's reasons are this baby is his & it's just traditional that babies take their fathers names, he also makes the argument that in the future we will get married & it saves the hassle on name changing now.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation with DP & what was your outcome?

Lamazeroo Tue 05-Feb-13 11:20:47

My DS has our two names double-barrelled. Each is two syllables so not short but too unwieldy. We are married but each kept our own surname. I am not a fucking possession and will not lose my identity just because it's traditional! Likewise, my child is no more his father's than mine so his name signifies this. Never crossed my mind to only give him the name of one of his parents.

ThedementedPenguin Tue 05-Feb-13 11:40:31

Yes I thought about this. Couldn't decide what to do. In the end I gave ds my partners last name. I hate my last name and the fact it associates me with my dad so I refused to have it included in my sons name.

You need to do what's right for yourself.

Although to me a last name doesn't change the fact he is my son and we are a family. Hopefully some day we will get married but there's no plans on that yet.

HazleNutt Tue 05-Feb-13 11:54:49

"OH's reasons are this baby is his & it's just traditional that babies take their fathers names"

It's also a)your baby and b)it's traditional to be married before having kids, so he just wants to pick and choose when the tradition suits him?

Trills Tue 05-Feb-13 11:58:56

Try it both ways round:

Jamie Duh-Duhduhduh
Jamie Duhduhduh-Duh

Which makes the better sound?

There's no better reason for the baby to have his name alone than there is for the baby to have your name alone.

DoingItForMyself Tue 05-Feb-13 12:17:32

Its only traditional that babies take their father's surname because its also traditional that mothers take the father's surname when they get married. If you aren't that traditional, then you can do whatever the heck you like with names!

For me, I would find it frustrating if school/doctors etc called me Mrs Duhduhduh because they assumed I had the same surname as my child.

My children and I all have a DB name (mine then stbxh's). When I get divorced I may change my name back to my maiden name, but only because it will still be part of my DCs' names too - I will be Mrs A, XH can be Mr B and the DCs' surname can still be AB, linking them to us both.

This would make the most sense to me, as regardless of your marital status or whether you choose to change your name, your DCs have a link to both families.

I think DB names are quite sensible when the parents have different surnames - certainly it is as logical to blend them as to prefer one over the other.

But what happens when Jamie A-B falls in love with Jane C-D? All the adults I know who had DB surnames as children have dropped one part - so Jamie A-B is known as Jamie B, Jane C-D is known as Jane D, and the children of that partnership are Josh B-D or just Josh B.

PoppyAmex Tue 05-Feb-13 13:28:26

You know you can have both surnames (not double barrelled)?

In my country and most of continental Europe people just add the father's surname to the mother's and that's what I did with DD, so she has 2 surnames.

They would look awful double barrelled though.

Would one work as a middle name?

AyeOopMoose Tue 05-Feb-13 15:20:26

Can't you all just go for the double barrelled version?

I wanted keep my name when we married but also take DH's. We discussed this and decided that any future DC would have that "new" name and DH didn't want to be left out, so changed his name too.

We love that we have our own family name did cause problems with the ILs though

It also limited the choice of names for DC as we wanted to keep them short.

photographerlady Tue 05-Feb-13 15:22:57

Double Barrelled were always the bullies at school smile

Trills Tue 05-Feb-13 15:24:53

Does your name look like a surname or does it look like something that coul dbe a middle name?

I was going to say call your child Jamie Middlename Duh Duhduhduh (no hyphen) but then people might assume that he is Jamie Middlename Duh(second middlename) Duhduhduh(lastname).

Hyphens make it clear that they are both last names.

marshkat Tue 05-Feb-13 17:57:36

In same situation, but dont think i wan2 use my surname, so might use my Great nans (who is nearly 100) Me and oh think this is great but other people are complaining and moaning!

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Tue 05-Feb-13 20:58:57

What HazelNutt said.

I'd just be giving the baby my surname if the dad wasn't offering to marry me.

badtemperedaldbitch Tue 05-Feb-13 21:03:55

If you use both surnames but don't hyphenated then you can choose which or both to use.

If it's hyphenated then that is your name.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 05-Feb-13 21:56:20

I agree with HazleNutt too.

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of why should the child take the identity of only one parent, if you keep both names, where do you stop as the generations progress? Your great great great grandchildren would have a whole list of hyphenated names bogging them down. Personally, my feeling is that my maiden name was only a sliver of my identity and not representative of any of my female ancestors anyway, so I didn't feel strongly about hanging onto it. I also find double-barrelled surnames unwieldy and rather pretentious if I'm honest. The kids I knew at school with them were all faintly embarrassed by them and edited them down to one name as soon as they reached adulthood.

louschmoo Tue 05-Feb-13 22:00:04

My son has my maiden name as a middle name and DHs name as his surname. I also kept my maiden name as a middle name when I got married, and DC2 will also have my name as a middle name. Works for me as a way of retaining a connection to my family, and works for DH as he gets to keep the 'tradition'.

PhieEl06 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:11:08

No possible way either of our names could be a middle name, mine too obviously a surname (second most popular in UK), OH's too complicated & unfamiliar so again obviously a surname, I suppose after really thinking about it my main annoyance would be being presumed to be a Mrs ..., the plan is there to get married in the future & I would want to take his name but not yet. Hmmm, still unsure but thanks for your responses so far! smile

Rhubarbgarden Wed 06-Feb-13 11:26:45

If you have children you will be presumed to be a Mrs anyway.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 11:33:18

Oh for fuck's sake.

It's traditional that babies have the man's name, but he's not fussed about the 'tradition' of getting married before you procreate?

The baby is his - and it's not yours?

It's not even that you're arguing for your name and he's arguing for his. You're arguing for both and he's arguing for his. That's ridiculous - yours IS the compromise position already. He's being a knob. Sorry, but he is. WHY should his name trump yours? There is exactly no good reason.

I'm also sick to death of the 'what about when they marry another double-barrelled' argument. If they're old enough to marry someone, they're old enough to work out a compromise on names. That's no reason to make a decision on anything, it's just an excuse. People have had double-barrelled names forever, it's hardly so unprecedented that they'll grow up, get to the church door and then panic.

In that situation I would be giving the baby my surname, and letting DP know that when you marry, you'll change both names.

PoppyAmex Wed 06-Feb-13 11:40:53

Everything Tortoise said.

puddock Wed 06-Feb-13 11:42:59

We did what PoppyAmex said - two surnames, first mine then DP's, no hyphen. Registrar was fine with it, nobody else has raised any eyebrows. (Once in a while you get a computer system that can't cope with two unhyphenated last names e.g. at our pharmacist - I'm not bothered about a hyphen being put in under these circs.)
Maybe my DC's will drop one or other of the names in later life, or demote it to a middle name, that's okay with me. Surnames as middle names is traditional in my (Scottish) family.

Like anyone whose children's surname doesn't match theirs, now that mine are a bit older, I occasionally get phone calls that go "hello, are you Mrs Mysurname DPssurname?", but answering "I'm DS1's mum, what can I do for you?" usually works ;)

puddock Wed 06-Feb-13 11:46:47

And, yeah, what Tortoise said.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 11:50:31

Personally I'd also be going with "when/if we marry, why don't we all hyphenate to reflect the coming together of two individuals, then we'll match DC". Since either way, it's two name changes: you and DC, or you and DP.

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 11:51:05

Why can't the father's name be the middle name? Or the first of the two un hyphenated last names which will, in reality, never be used and will end up as just another first name?

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 11:53:59

And what on earth is the difference between Smith Jones and Smith-Jones?

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 11:55:45

Apart, obviously, from Smith Jones being a way of telling the woman "yes, calm down dear, you're name's there too, see? Oh, I know we don't really use it, but it's there- what are you making such a fuss about?"

I'm struggling with this one too, our surnames just don't sound nice double barrelled but I do prefer my surname, it's a name I chose myself as I changed my name by deed poll (still a 'family' name but not the one I was born with) so feel quite attached to my name. I am planning on marrying my partner in a couple of years time but I'm not sure if I want to take his surname or not since mine is a nicer name. We did talk about if we have a girl giving it my surname and if it's a boy his but I don't know what we will actually decide in the end. I think we need to have another chat about it!

fraktion Wed 06-Feb-13 11:58:43

I doubled mine upon marriage but DS has DH's only. Had we not been married there's no way I would have allowed my child to have a completely different surname. It's tough enough travelling when we share a surname that's not identical anyway!

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 12:05:44

This is one of those times when I want to hop in a Tardis and go back to the '70s and have a word with the young woman I was then-

"You know that business about women changing their names on marriage and giving their children their husband's name? That thing we thought would sensibly die out once we stopped thinking of women as a possession to be passed from father to husband? Well, it's 2013, and we're still doing it. Sorry- we let you down"

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 12:07:35

Mine and both the girls are hyphenated. DH isn't, because he couldn't be arsed doing the paperwork (which, to be fair, is more involved for a bloke...not that that's a sexist situation or anything). So he's the only one without the shared family name. I figure, if he cares, he can join us.

Purplemonster, why on earth would you change your name? You chose yours, you changed it by deed poll, you like it better than his. That's a total no-brainer, surely? If it's that important to you both to share a name, why not suggest that he change to yours, since it's nicer and more meaningful?

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 12:08:45

YY seeker. And fair warning: the first person to post "but my name was my father's name anyway so it's totally fair to relinquish it" gets a virtual slap.

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 12:11:06

And "but his name is so much nicer than mine" gets a slap too!

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 12:12:16

Purple monster- why are you struggling for a second! It's a complete no - brainer.

5madthings Wed 06-Feb-13 12:12:46

What tortoise said.

Oh and my kids have a double barrelled name and they arent bullies! Ffs as is having a double barreled name would make you a bully.

TalkativeJim Wed 06-Feb-13 12:21:30

Sorry, but I'd be starting from the position that my baby- that I'm giving birth to - has my name.

If we were married and had the same last name, then that would mean that the baby had our family name. Otherwise not.

I can't count the number of threads I've read where a woman regrets giving her child her DP's name only ... and then marriage isn't forthcoming ... And then they split, she marries and has children with a new partner - and the first child has a different surname.

Not saying you are at all likely to split (!) - but if you did, during all these years that you say you are unlikely to marry, who would the children live with/be registered with the doctor with/be taken to school by? You, 95% likelihood. Logic says the children of an unmarried couple should have the mother's surname.

His argument that its 'his' baby is redundant, if he wants to pull that kind of rank, he loses pretty quickly to the parent who gets to be pregnant, recover, breast feed, give up work for at least half a year...

So personally I think he should be biting your hand off at your very generous offer of DBing the name... give that you don't even have to have him there to register the birth and as you aren't married, he doesn't evenhave the legal right to register it himself!

TalkativeJim Wed 06-Feb-13 12:31:27

Oh and by giving the baby your name now, you basically plan for every scenario:

- if you marry, you change yours and the childrens' names to his at the same time;

- if you split, you retain control over what surname your child is able to use I future. So, were you to split and start a second family, your child could change their surname to your new family one. Or choose to take its father's name. Or keep yours. Conversely, if your child had your DP's name from the start, it's very unlikely he would allow his child to drop/double barrel his name if there were a split, even if it meant the child feeling the odd one out in its home family.

If your DP doesn't like hearing any of this, then as you have (once again, very generously) agreed to change your name to his on marriage - there's an easy answer!!

aufaniae Wed 06-Feb-13 15:35:36

"No possible way either of our names could be a middle name,"

You can have a surname as a middle name, no reason why not. DS has (as well as a conventional middle name).

A good friend of mine has her mum's name as a middle name (along with two conventional names, so 5 names in total!)

FWIW I gave DS DP's surname (for my own personal reasons - different situation to yours so probably not worth explaining!). DP and I plan to get married but I'm going to keep my own name then anyway.

Having a different surname to DS does mean I need to take extra ID with him if flying to prove I'm his mum and not abducting him! (Learnt that ere, haven't tested it in practice).

MadameJosephine Wed 06-Feb-13 15:51:54

We are in a slightly different situation, I would have liked DD to have my surname but it's my married name (didn't go back to maiden name when I got divorced 12 years ago as I wanted to have same name as DS) and I could understand that DP didn't want to give his daughter my exH's name. We have no plans to marry but I am considering double barrelling my name so I have one surname in common with each of my children.

In your situation I would insist on the baby having your surname so I think you are being very reasonable to suggest double barrelled!

Locketjuice Wed 06-Feb-13 15:59:37

My sons surname is double barrelled.. 3 syllables-1 syllable.

My other half was dead against but I said that it was one thing I would not budge on so he had to accept! Baby number 2. Will have the same smile

LentilAsAnything Wed 06-Feb-13 18:23:55

<rubs sore cheek from seeker's slap> But my husband's surname IS much nicer than my maiden name! I was delighted to ditch my maiden name, which, incidentally, was double-barrelled (and no, I wasn't a bully! smile). One half was a very common surname too, I was especially glad to get rid of that.
If it was the other way round, I'd hope we'd keep the nicer name! Or choose a completely new one!
Not really answering OP's question, sorry! But I have no attachment to my old surname, it's just a name to me, and I am glad my DH, DC and I all have the same non-double-barrelled surname.
What about making up a new name, some sort of combination of the current surnames, or something totally new?
Mr Doobidoo and Ms Jones, now Mr and Ms Doones. Or Mr and Ms Devereux! Love that surname! smile

MumOfMissy Wed 06-Feb-13 18:36:15

We're not married and gave our DD a double barreled surname, mine first, then his. It's very long though and causes problems on some computer systems, eg at our doctors they only use the first half of her surname on the system as it can't cope.

MIL has been very sniffy about the whole thing. She posted our DD a card and on the envelope just put DDs first name. I was furious and got DP to pull her up on it but she didn't apologise. Waiting to see what she'll do next time. Grrrrrrrrr....

Anyway OP, your DC should definitely have your name as well as DP's.

Kelerina Wed 06-Feb-13 18:38:50

My DP and I aren't married, no plans to be, may or may not happen further down the line but I wouldn't be surprised if it never happened. It is not a lack of commitment in any way, he comes from divorced parents and I come from parents who should have divorced and didn't so neither of us believe that marriage can give us anything we don't already have, either we'll stay together or we won't. Sorry slight tangent......I am currently pregnant with PFB and we have decided that our son will have DP's surname and my surname as a middle name. This was mostly my decision as I am not overly attached to my surname but is is MY surname and if I were to ever marry I wouldn't change it anyway. This way my son has a connection to me in his name but his dad's surname (I just don't like double barrelled names). It was by no means a given that child would get DP's surname......he would never have fought for that and was of the opinion that really it was my decision as his mother. Very long winded sorry but thought i'd throw my opinion in!

SVN Wed 06-Feb-13 21:19:58

We're married but each of us have kept our own names and our children have double-barrelled names. I think it's such an anachronistic practise to insist on having the man's surname. Admittedly, it was a bone of contention between me and DH but I knew that if I gave in I would resent him forever more.

Our oldest child is now 8 and we've never encountered any difficulties/questions because of our children's double-barrelled surname.

scoutfinch1 Wed 06-Feb-13 22:14:47

I'm in a somewhat similar position to you but we are planning on getting married sooner rather than later. We are just giving baby DP's last name which I am happy with and if we don't end up getting married as soon as we would like I am thinking about just changing my last name to DP's by deed poll. If your DP is really unhappy about a double barreled name you could think about this although I get that this option is not for everyone.

Anjou Thu 07-Feb-13 00:49:09

Everything Talkative Jim said. Most folk here have said much the same thing in a very reasonable way that I think your partner would be hard pushed to argue with, so I hope it all helps!

And please don't take any notice of the the comment way above that double barrelled names are 'pretentious'. How bloody ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as saying everyone with a double barrelled name are bullies.

Good luck! smile

ripsishere Thu 07-Feb-13 01:09:12

I don't have my DHs surname. My DD does. She also has my surname as a middle name.

Bue Thu 07-Feb-13 17:41:53

We're married and we will do the same as ripishere for all our children. Not perfect, but it's my choice not to double barrel as I don't like it with our two names. If I wanted to DB, DH would be very happy to do so - and rightly so! The one solution he put his foot down on was alternating surnames for our children. I can accept that that idea is a little out there for many people.

seeker Thu 07-Feb-13 17:46:09

Just wondering. Why is it always the woman's name that is put in as an extra middle name so it can be forgotten about?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 07-Feb-13 18:33:25

Ahahah tortoise: "I'm also sick to death of the 'what about when they marry another double-barrelled' argument. If they're old enough to marry someone, they're old enough to work out a compromise on names. That's no reason to make a decision on anything, it's just an excuse. People have had double-barrelled names forever, it's hardly so unprecedented that they'll grow up, get to the church door and then panic."

I so agree.

But if it comes to a choice I really do think children should default to having the mother's name, because:
1) mother and child will be looked after together during labour/birth/afterwards
2) statistically mothers are more likely to be accompanying their children to school/docs/dentist
3) statistically in the event of a split the children are likely to spend the majority of time with their mother
4) the mother has carried and given birth to the child so is definitely the parent
5) the mother has carried and given birth to the child so has bloody well earned it!

All horribly cynical no doubt but true. Obviously if the father is likely to be and continue to be the main caregiver then fewer of these apply, but I'm sure he can take care of a kid with a different surname - women manage it all the time after all.

I really can't think of a single reason for babies to get their father's name by default. In fact I think I started a thread about it once and there were quite a lot of sad replies along the lines of "I thought it would remind him it was his child and make him more involved/less likely to leave us." sad

FrontLoader Thu 07-Feb-13 19:42:42

Both our DCs have my surname, with DPs surname as their middle name. We are the only couple I know who have done this. My mother-in- law is slowly getting over it (four years in).

My boss and his wife gave their son his surname and their daughter her's.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Fri 08-Feb-13 05:23:49

Surely the starting position has to be that babe gets mother's surname?

Doesn't seem to make sense to assume father's surname if this isn't a shared family name, especially given that you can re-register the child's birth on marriage (thus saving any faff with deed polls and extra documentation).

Assuming father's surname is the default and any other choice must be justified basically assumes the mother is of no importance.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 09:01:58

If you are Firstname MiddleName Herlastname Hislastname.

Then you could be FM Herlastname Hislastname, which people with shorten to F Herlastname.

Or you could be FMH Hislastname.

Which one gets "forgotten about" depends on how you do it.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 08-Feb-13 09:04:21

Do as the Spanish Do and double barrel

We have double barrelled our kids - and we are married. They don't often use it, but it's there if they want it!!

MERLYPUSS Fri 08-Feb-13 09:23:54

I have twins who have their dads very long asian surname (5 sylables)as a third name. They have my surname as theirs as I was the last person in our family with my, 4 sylable, surname which I kept after we married. It was his choice for the kids to have mine so our children would not be judged by his surname and lame attempts at trying to pronounce it. My sister has two children who have double barreled her surname first with partners last - a 5 + 2 sylable. Sounds fine and the kids have even said theywill use either/both when they want.

CooEeeEldridge Fri 08-Feb-13 09:43:20

Surely saying its it's up to the kids with double barreled surnames to pick which they keep / double barrel when they marry other db-ers, just forces the decision that YOU Couldn't make onto them? And if they do drop your bit will you be offended then?! Will there be loads of threads on here in 2030 from children with that dilemma?!

Also to those saying about giving people a slap who prefer their partners surname. Do feel free! I cannot WAIT to have a decent surname! Having been saddled with a difficult to prunounce, odd to spell one I can't wait to ditch it!just think about what you're inflicting on your kids op, if db sounds silly then flip a coin and pick one!!!

CoteDAzur Fri 08-Feb-13 10:07:36

If he wants baby to have only his last name, tell him to marry you quickly. Get a date and go sign the register. Why on earth would you have to wait until baby is a teenager?

CoteDAzur Fri 08-Feb-13 10:10:01

... except if he is already married with no divorce date in sight, in which case I think you should just laugh when he mentions the word "traditional" smile

OxyMoron Fri 08-Feb-13 10:15:16

No one is saddled with a surname. You can change it by deed poll whenever you like.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Fri 08-Feb-13 10:48:03

I like the Icelandic method, but I don't fully understand it at all

Something about putting 'dottir' on the end of names, meaning so and so's daughter.

HazleNutt Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:06

Icelandic method takes the dad's name and puts -son or -daughter at the end. So Rose and Harry whose dad is called James would be Rose Jamesdottir and Harry Jamesson. Traditionally again only the father's name is used, although nowadays some people also use mother's.

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