Marriage and name changing - pros and cons

(11 Posts)
Plateofcrumbs Tue 18-Feb-14 13:03:10

OK at the outset I want to make it clear this is about weighing up the practical pros and cons - NOT about 'doing the right thing' or whatever.

DP and I have been together forever and expecting first child. Not married, never had any intention to marry but having DC on way is making me wonder.

For me, I see four possible alternatives:

-Don't marry, DC takes DP's surname
-Marry, I retain my own surname, DC has DP's surname
-Marry, I change surname and we all (DC, DP and I) share same surname.
-As above but I retain my current surname for some purposes (work in particular)

I know DC taking my surname or double-barrelling is a perfectly reasonable option but DP has a much nicer surname! So it's not on the table for me.

I'd love some help thinking through whether there are any major (or minor!) practical benefits/drawbacks to marrying and name changing.

(And yes of course there are plenty of non-practical considerations as well but I'm taking them out of it for the purposes of this thread!).

AlpacaLypse Tue 18-Feb-14 13:11:57

If you're not bothered emotionally about marriage, weigh up the pros and cons financially.

We're unmarried, as we're actually better off that way. dds are double barrelled, and I've never changed my name on anything legal. I do answer to Mrs DP's surname, or Mrs dds double barrelled name, if someone calls it out in a context where they couldn't know otherwise.

My surname is unusual and I'm proud of it, also my generation in this country are completely female, so unless at least one of us kept it, it would have disappeared.

At one point I remember discovering that adding a spouse to a motor insurance policy was free, whereas an unmarried partner cost extra - but that was years ago, and I'm not sure that benefit exists anymore.

ThePartyArtist Wed 19-Feb-14 15:48:28

My parents are unmarried, we children all have my father's name. I am told by my parents it's because a) he felt more attached to his heritage and therefore surname than my mum did hers and b) at that time unmarried fathers were legally much less acknowledged so whilst the law would have favoured my mum, it was a way of culturally signifying that he was an involved father (though I'm not sure anyone except my parents would interpret it this way!)

From a practical perspective, I can advise that it is slightly irritating having to explain to people, and the school always assumed our mum was Mrs [Children's Surname] which can get tiring to correct. In some instances when people learned she did not have our surname there were questions or assumption she was the stepmother. Of course all this may have changed by now!

Another thing that's still irritating is when you book something it's hard to remember which name it was booked in. eg. turning up at restaurants and giving two possible names.

I always found it annoying that my parents went for the surname that was the harder to spell, out of the two options.

There are some things which cost extra with two surnames, eg. Royal Mail redirection, but we don't encounter a lot of these.

My SIL works in an international airport and told me she's advised to check children and parents have the same surname on passports, and to be vigilant of possible abduction if not - which is crazy! It may be different though as she's in another country where marriage is more traditional than in the UK.

We do know a family who changed the parents' surnames to something completely new and gave the kids the same surname, thereby not favouring either. Also, we know a family in which the married parents kept their respective surnames and then alternated the children, eg. first born had mum's surname, second born had dad's, and so on - which causes even more complications! And of course if you double barrel the children's names they have a new dilemma if / when they marry!

I will be interested to see what people advise here as it is something I am not sure of in relation to me and DP if we marry!

sykadelic Thu 20-Feb-14 18:57:58

My sister is an attorney and when she got married she was still young in her career so she changed her name. If she were to divorce now she'd probably keep her married name simply because people now know her as that name in the legal profession, her certificates etc are in that name etc.

For me there weren't too many issues because I don't have a career where my "name is everything" such as above. I only had to change my licence, my passport, bank accounts/cards and medical card information. Being older now it would be more of a pain for mortgage, house title, car registration and insurance but there are checklists online and mostly a simple procedure.

Because I live overseas there's one thing I haven't been able to change because it's a pain, and that's my superannuation account name. The document I need is very specific to Australia so I have to remember to do it the next time I'm there.

I would prefer any kids to have the same last name as me for reasons mentioned above by other posters. I know people that re-marry and take their new partners names and they rationalise that isn't a big deal because ultimately the girls will probably marry and change their names and be different later anyway.

It was always something I was going to do (unless my husband had a horrid last name :P) so it was an easy decision for me.

Didyouhearmeontheradio Thu 20-Feb-14 19:00:09

You could also remain unmarried and change your name to his and all share same name....

ItsAlwaysBetterOnHoliday Thu 20-Feb-14 19:06:27

Hey plate smile

We got married just over a year ago and went for option 2. Our names would sound terrible double barreled and I'm very much attached to my weird surname so it seemed the best option. Now first baby on the way we've decided to give him/her DH's name for the main reason that DH cares more than I do!

My parents weren't married and I never felt any less close to my mum having a different name to her. That said, I'm keen that some of my family heritage is somewhere in DC1's name, probably through middle names. And if double barrelling didn't make us sound like we had a stutter, I would have probably gone for that option...

SanityClause Thu 20-Feb-14 19:07:17

My DC have DH's surname. I have kept my own.

I have never had difficulty with having a different surname to either DH or the DC, although if people call me Mrs Husband'sName, I'm quite easygoing about it. If I minded, then that could be a problem.

Recently DH told me he wishes he had taken my name, when we married, as he doesn't like his. I think he felt it would upset his father, though.

I'm not really sure why I didn't consider giving the DC my name. I suppose some traditions die harder than others.

It seems to me there's more disadvantages to changing your name than keeping it the same (I.e., you have to go around with a marriage certificate proving the name change, have to get a new passport, etc)

ItsAlwaysBetterOnHoliday Thu 20-Feb-14 19:08:04

Oh and practically no problems so far, and I don't remember there ever being any with Mum and I having different surnames...

SanityClause Thu 20-Feb-14 19:09:47

I should also point out that marriage is more than a "piece of paper". It formalises a lot of legalities, in one fell swoop, rather than having to do them piecemeal, as a co-habiting couple would have to do.

(Nothing wrong with either, but marriage simplifies the financial commitment process!)

whereisshe Thu 20-Feb-14 19:18:49

I'm married, and we both kept our own surnames. DD has my surname and DH's surname as a middle name. The main irritations are from institutions assuming we aren't mart they struggle more with me being Ms than with us having different names. No issues yet with DD but she is still tiny. I plan to take her birth certificate with us when we travel in case of any issues.

whereisshe Thu 20-Feb-14 19:19:44

Stupid phone. Not aren't mart! Aren't married...

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