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If you didn't change your surname when you got married

(68 Posts)
OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 16:00:30

I haven't changed my surname, so DH and I have different surnames. So far, so normal. But everyone I talk to assumes that kids would all have the same surname and it would probably be his surname (we don't have any yet, TTC at the moment). I don't see why. I want one each (one kid with his name, one with mine) which seems fair. Otherwise I'm the only person in the family with a different name. What do you think?

noisytoys Sun 17-Mar-13 16:02:59

Double barrel. Or one of your names as a middle name?

hermioneweasley Sun 17-Mar-13 16:03:45

I have friends who decided that if they had a girl first she would take the father's name and a boy would take the mother's and any subsequent kids would have the same surname. In another family the kids have the mother's name and in another the daughter has the mother's name and the soon, his father's. Whatever works for you!

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 16:15:40

noisy Sadly our two names do NOT double barrel. It sounds totally ridiculous. I've thought about the middle name / last name thing, but I would still want it to be in different orders for both kids (since really, who ever uses middle names).

hermione For your friends who've done this, do they find there are any issues with it? People make gloomy predictions to me about the kids getting 'confused' (I can't see how it's more confusing than divorced parents who've remarried etc), and also about travel with authorities in other countries not recognising that a family may actually be a family without sharing a surname.

tribpot Sun 17-Mar-13 16:23:10

My mum's best friend did what hermione's friend did. The girl has the dad's surname as there weren't many other girls in the dad's family, and likewise the boy the mum's.

Never caused any problems; I gave ds DH's surname and probably would have given a girl mine (the mum of a friend of mine declared that this would be 'illegal', which I found hilarious). I haven't tested my theory as we only have the one ds.

ds is not in the slightest bit confused about why he has a different surname to me, he's never even asked. He isn't aware of it yet (aged 7) but in my huge blended family not only are different surnames the norm (I haven't had the same surname as my mum since I was 7) but some members even have different first names (my step-sister's mum decided to change her first name upon divorce when my step-sis was about 9, so everyone who has met her since then calls her one name and we call her something else!).

You may need to take suitable documentation when travelling through customs, but I wouldn't reverse a decision that is important to you just because of a bit of paperwork.

calypso2008 Sun 17-Mar-13 16:30:02

It is really only in the UK that you change your name when you get married.
I married in Canada and could not have changed my name if I had wanted. to. I have lived in France and Italy, again, you do not change your name. I currently am in Spain (where I gave birth) and again, you do not change your name!

In Europe the law is as follows (nothing you can do about how ridiculous it sounds!) Childs name, fathers surname, mothers surname. My DD was born in Madrid and nothing I could do to alter my childs odd sounding surname! Not called double barelled here - it is the absolutel norm and the law. However, DD is called her name then fathers surname mainly. All hospital apts, school, passports, the whole shebang, with my surname added.

I think to have children with different surnames is really odd. I would devise a formula and like the suggestion above of middle name as one of your surnames. Basically what is done on the continent.


LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 17-Mar-13 16:34:12

We're in the same situation (no kids, different names) and at the moment the plan is for them to have my name, partly because it does seem to be one of those issues where blokes always pass on their name, but partly also because DH has an awkward foreign name that's a pain. I assume MIL and FIL will call them 'baby DHsname', but they find my name hard to pronounce anyway so it seems fair enough.

calypso - I can think of other places than the UK where you change your name, loads of them. It's normal in the US and Aus and Russia, all fairly big countries.

I knew children when I was little where the girl was Mumsname-Dadsname and the boy was Dadsname-Mumsname and both found it quite tedious because naturally teachers got confused.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 17-Mar-13 16:42:24

My kids have dh's name and I am the only one in my family with my name.
I like my three having the same surname, for simplicity in the naming of kit for school. You just write the surname in their wellies etc and then you don't have to change anything when they get handed down. It does bug me that the teachers constantly call me Mrs DH'sName, or if they have sussed out I have a different name, they assume we're not married - I've been asked if I was married before hence the ring hmm. I mean ffs, it's 2013, it shouldn't be that hard to come up with the perfectly simple explanation of me being married and not changing my name.

It would be simpler if they had the same name as me tbh but I don't think dh would have gone for it.

TheBuskersDog Sun 17-Mar-13 17:13:53

I think it's better to give all children the same surname, whether it's his or yours, less confusing for all. If you only end up having one child then one of you will not get a child with their name anyway. I have a different surname to my children and it has never been a problem, I certainly don't feel any less connected to them than if they had my name.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 17:20:28

calypso We were actually married in Oz, where it's quite common for the woman to change her name when married (although slightly less common than it is here I think), and the only time legally other than by deed poll that a surname can be changed (although men can't when marrying which always strikes me as unfair). But that's very interesting about the rest of Europe. I know in the UK you can legally name your child whatever you like (surname included), so worst case we could just coin a totally new family name I suppose... I'm really interested to know why you think it's odd though to have two different surnames for the kids - this is exactly what I'm trying to understand as it's a very common reaction to it.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 17:22:12

Buskers Do you think they'd find it confusing? This is exactly what people tell me. But I don't see how it would be. It's just different names, and how is it less confusing than me having a different name to the rest of the family?

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 17:24:54

LRD Agree the reversing of the double-barrel is a pain! I don't think we'd want to take it to that extent.

I can see how the sticking point may be school, but honestly do kids ever really spend any time with their siblings at school? I certainly didn't when I was little and my brother is only 2 years younger than me. I'm struggling to think of a situation where it could be an issue / relevant.

KatherinaMinola Sun 17-Mar-13 17:27:11

Harriet Harman did this - boys Dromey, girl Harman I think. I do remember reading an interview with her (years and years ago) where she said that she actually regretted it as it had been confusing - but that might have been a PR thing to make her seem less 'feminist' for that particular paper (or at that particular time).

I know another family who have done it - boy his name, girl her name.

Arcticwaffle Sun 17-Mar-13 17:27:19

We did that. We shared out our surnames between our dc. We thought they wouldn't want 2 surnames and our names don't double-barrel that well.

But when the dc reached the age of discussion (5 or 6) they said they'd like both our names, and my teenage nieces also said they wished they had both their parents' names. So we changed it and since then all the dc have both our surnames, they are very happy about this.

I hadn't realised when we first had kids quite how many children would have 2 surnames. It's very normal around here for dc to have a different name to at least one parent, or two surnames, or 3.

exoticfruits Sun 17-Mar-13 17:28:49

I don't think that it matters which name they have, but all children should have the same one IMO.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 17:30:24

Tunip I hear you! We have the same problem, people keep wanting me to be 'Mrs', which I'm not. One of my friends even had a long argument with a customer service rep about the same thing, culminating in her asking to have the title 'Dr' (customer service rep: 'Oh are you a doctor?'; my friend 'No, but if you're going to get it wrong at least use something interesting').

It does amuse me though when people ring up and ask for 'Mr Orbis' (to which his usual response is that his father in law doesn't live with us smile)...

Moominsarehippos Sun 17-Mar-13 17:33:07

I never really thought about it. DS has DHs surname. I use it sometimes and DS sometimes gets addressed as DSMoomin (which amuses me as that's my late fathers name). It really doesn't bother me. If I'd had more, they would have been given the same surname.

frutilla Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:02

I couldn't change my surname as I live abroad and it appeared on the residency paperwork which would have become null and kids have father's surname. Our names would be a mouthful double-barreled, as mine is 3 syllables and his is 2 plus they are almost anagrams of each other. Hasn't caused any probs, no one seems to care.

MoonHare Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:35

We changed our names by deed poll to a new surname made up of our two surnames merged - we couldn't have double barrelled either. Would this work for you? We did it shortly before DC1 was born and so just registered her birth as normal with the new surname.

It felt a bit contrived at first but we're completely used to it now 5 years down the line and I love that we've created something new.

Timetoask Sun 17-Mar-13 17:39:55

I didn't change my surname (not a feminist, just don't see the point). Both our boys have DH's surname. I don't see a problem with it. They are still my sons.
I wouldn't have given them different surnames. What if you end up with 3 children?

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 17:46:55

I'm not married but I have 2 dds. Dd1 has my surname, dd2 has dp's surname. I can't see how it is going to be confusing for the girls, but then again they won't be at the same school at the same time anyway.

The only confusion so far has been the cm with dd2. When filling in paperwork for a particular toddler group they go to she couldn't remember dd2's surname so gave her mine instead. That's fine by me.

It may be confusing for the teachers when dd2 goes to school but that's because I will have more dealings with school (because I am a teacher and know a bit more about what questions to ask, not because dp isn't interested), but that would have been the case with any child with a different surname to either parent.

We're perfectly happy with our decision. Dp would have been happy for both dds to have my surname, but I wouldn't have been happy for them both to have his surname. His family would not have been happy if both dds had my surname though. If he ever disappears, which I don't think is likely, then I will change dd2's name to match dd1 and me.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 17-Mar-13 18:01:12

MoonHare We have definitely considered it. Although our two surnames merged sound almost as silly as double-barrelled. But one of the things that stopped me from changing my name (couldn't face changing passport, drivers licence etc etc etc, also I'm known at work by my current name) makes me think that it's a lot of effort to go to in order to have the same surname.

Timetoask If I end up with 3 children it would only be from having twins, which is unlikely as it doesn't run in our family. If I had twins I would give both of them the same surname, since twins are a bit special in that sense.

Schooldidi You've perfectly summarised my position, I'm glad it's not just me. DH (and family) wouldn't be happy with two kids with my name, I'm not happy with two kids with his name. So. What to do other than give them one each?

TunipTheVegedude Sun 17-Mar-13 18:03:34

I wouldn't do the different surnames thing myself but I don't think it's unreasonable. There isn't a perfect solution.

exoticfruits Sun 17-Mar-13 19:23:10

I think I would be a bit cross with my parents- if they had done it with my brother and I. One is a very unusual name and one is very common- it wouldn't be fair.

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 20:29:39

That's not really a problem for us exotic, we've both got fairly unusual names, so it's not unfair in that sense.

Really for us the decision was made for us in a sense. Dd1 was 6 before I met dp, so she obviously already had my name (she's never met her father, so she definitely doesn't have his name), so it was only dd2's name that was up for debate. It didn't cause quite the same problems as if they were both 'ours' and we chose to give them different names.

If we have another child I think we'd probably give it dp's surname so it's the same as it's closest sibling.

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