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Changing your Name
Whether to change your maiden name or not is a difficult decision for most women when they get married. Whilst it is expected by tradition that the bride will take her husband’s surname there is no legal requirement to do so.
If you decide to change your maiden name, the next step is deciding what you want to change it to. Legally, a woman can either keep her maiden name or adopt her husband’s surname automatically upon marriage. There are other options available although these may involve changing your name by Deed Poll. These options are detailed below.
Taking your husband’s surname
Whilst it is expected by tradition that the bride will take her husband’s surname, there is no legal requirement to do so
The traditional option is that of assuming your husband’s surname. It is the preferred option by the majority of brides and also the simplest. When making financial, social or legal decisions and arrangements – it is less confusing for others if you and your husband share the same surname. Another consideration is whether you have or plan to have children. If so, you may prefer for both parents to have the same surname as your child. It is also easiest to notify organisations of your change of name as the only evidence they require is your marriage certificate.
If you want to follow with tradition, you may be interested to know how you should formally be addressed. For example, if Miss Sandra Smith married Mr Joe Bloggs, she would formally be known as Mrs Joe Bloggs and together they would be known formally as Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs. Many people refer to themselves as Mrs Sandra Bloggs. Whilst this is formally incorrect and is actually how divorced women should be addressed, it is becoming common usage as more women are wishing to retain a degree of independency.
Keeping your maiden name
Some brides choose to keep their maiden name because they don’t want to change their identities or don’t want to lose their family name. Having been known as your maiden name all your life, it is very odd to think of yourself with a different surname. Whilst this is understandable - especially if you have a close family – you do risk offending your new husband.
If you choose to keep your maiden name when you get married, you do not have to notify anyone because you are not legally obliged to take your husband’s surname if you don’t want to. Your title however should change from Miss to Ms. For example, if your name is Sandra Smith, you will then formally be known as Ms Sandra Smith.
If you want to keep your family name as well as that of your husband’s, a good compromise is to take each other’s surnames and have a hyphenated (double-barrelled surname). A traditional double-barrelled surname starts with the woman’s surname, but you can choose which ever format you prefer – which ever sounds best!
Since this is not an automatic legal option, both you and your husband would need to change their names by Deed Poll after your marriage at a cost of £34 per adult. If you want to save time and money, your future husband could change his surname before you get married. That way, you can just assume your husband’s surname in the same way as you would if it had been his previous surname. For more details visit the UK Deed Poll website.
Changing your husband’s name
Whilst uncommon, one option would be for your husband to assume your maiden name. Your husband would have to change his name by Deed Poll but you would simply continue using your maiden name after marriage. Your husband would have to notify everyone in the same way as you would have had you changed your surname.
Your maiden name as middle name
If you want to keep your family name, you may consider having your maiden name as a middle name. This change would need to be done by Deed Poll. For further details visit the UK Deed Poll website.
Keep maiden name for work
Many professional or business women adopting their husband’s surname often choose to keep their maiden name for business purposes as that is how they are known by their colleagues and clients. All you need to do is write to your employer to say that you wish to retain your maiden name at work and let them know of any change in bank details.