A Bride's Legal Options for her new name
It's a dilemma that faces every new bride in the modern world: Should I take my husband's name? The choice is absolutely up to you. There is no law that says you must become Mrs X when you get married: you can change your name, keep your maiden name, or come to some compromise between the two. Even if you do choose to change your name, you are not actually changing your name in law, you are simply assuming the name of your husband, and can cast it off again at any time.
An overwhelming majority of brides still choose to change their names after marriage. In the bra-burning days of the Sixties and Seventies, changing your name was seen my feminists as submitting to the patriarchal yoke, but the tide has turned. Nowadays women are more likely to be confident in their independence, and they take their husband's name as a sign of their new identity as a couple and perhaps, in time, as a family. And there are practical as well as romantic advantages to changing your name, not least introductions at social engagements and avoiding confusing your (future) kids. Also, some names just don't sound right together: if your name is Jo and your husband's surname is King then you might want to stick with the name you were born with.
Some women choose to keep their maiden name. This may be a matter of principle – you don't need to wear dungarees and leave your armpits unshaved to feel strongly about the sexism bound into ancient traditions. Or you might have spent years building up a professional identity, which you don't want to lose. Perhaps you are an academic who has always published under her maiden name, or you have built up a reputation for yourself in business, or you freelance in the creative industries and rely on recommendations to get new work. It might simply make more sense to keep your old name. Rest assured – no one will assume you don't really love your husband just because you don't share his surname! And the days are long gone when prissy hotel receptionists would look down their noses at you if you didn't sign the guest book as Mr and Mrs X.
Because marriage does not mean changing your name in law, if you wish you can use both names – keep your old name at work, and use your new married name at home, among friends, and on important documents like your passport and driving licence. If you do choose to use both names, make sure that the name on your bank account, pension plan and insurance policies is the right one.
You don't even has to be known simply by one or other of your surnames. If you'd rather, you can join your surnames together to form a double-barrelled name. Or you can jump on the back on an emerging trend in name change, the blended surname. This is where you take your two surnames and squash them together – so, for example, Bloggs and Oakley might become Bloakley. The husband should change his name before the wedding, then the bride can also take it, or both individuals should legally change their names. A legal name change can also be undertaken if
you want a totally different name. Any mashed up name or new name requires a legal name change application to be approved by Births, Deaths and Marriages and separate fees apply.
If you do decide that you want to change your name, whatever you decide to change it to you will have to inform a whole host of organisations, from your bank and the tax office to your pension plan and phone carrier. This takes a lot of time, and can be a big headache when all you want to do is kick back and start enjoying married life! Luckily, there’s a company that can do help. ww.easynamechange.com/nz sells name change kits which include letter templates, the forms you'll need to fill in, and a helpful checklist to ensure that you don't forget anyone. It only takes a few minutes to register and is really simple to use, so don't spend your honeymoon worrying about how to change the name on your driving licence – sign up today!