When you decide that changing your name after marriage is a must, there’s a lot of paperwork to go through. You’ll need to change everything from your driver’s license and passport to your social security number, along with every type of insurance and utilities.
Many women decide to take their husband’s last name, but that’s not the only option available. Take a look at the pros and cons of changing your name after marriage before you take this big step, that can also have less obvious effects on your life.
Changing Your Name After Marriage Pros
There are many obvious pros to taking on your husband’s name after marriage, but most are rooted in tradition and convenience. You can also find some benefits in sharing the same name if you have children, or if you simply hate your own last name.
It’s still the default expectation, so people will start using your husband’s last name anyway, unless you correct them. If you enjoy this tradition, and it feels like the symbolic cherry on the cake of your union, then you’ll enjoy the name change both in the short and long run.
Since changing your name after marriage is so common, you’ll have to do of explaining to random people about why that isn’t the case for your marriage. It’s not convenient to change all the important documents in your life, but the upside is the fact that reservations and monogramming get easier.
If you can’t wait to have children, then you should consider the impact it can have for them as well. A hyphenated name can be a mouthful, and when you’re dealing with school employees or going on international trips, having the same name as your kids can be a time saver.
See also: Why Get Married?
A Fresh Start
Whether your new name has a better ring to it than your old last name, or you’re estranged from your parents, or you simply hate your last name, changing your name after marriage can be a symbolic fresh start, and it can help you feel like you’re starting your own family.
Changing Your Name After Marriage Cons
Even if you don’t want to take a less traditional route, there are plenty of reasons why taking on your husband’s name after the wedding can get tricky, from the hassle of it all to any emotional attachment to your own last name.
Changing your name legally can mean a lot of trouble, since you have to make the switch on every official document, and also inform your employer, your doctor, and even your post office. And you should also consider the possibility of ever having to change it back.
Taking your husband’s name after the wedding is the most obvious symbol of the patriarchal society that many deny. Changing your name after marriage can go against your feminist values, and if you strongly believe in equality, it can also mean setting bad example for your daughter. This is definitely a negative if you want to live your life in a more modern way.
Whether you feel like a big part of your identity is tied to your name or you’re the last in your family to carry it on, emotional attachment to your name is a very valid reason to reject changing your name after marriage. Depending on your career, taking his name can also end up being detrimental to your work and reputation.
Sometimes, your first name and his last name just don’t work together, whether they’re too alliterative, dissonant or simply difficult to pronounce. When you really feel strongly against taking on his name, there are plenty of other options. Compromising on this issue can be difficult for many couples, but weighting the pros and the cons together can help.
Other Options for Changing Your Name After Marriage
If you decide that taking your husband’s name legally and giving up your own doesn’t work for you, you can also try to solve the issue in a few different ways. You can still keep your last name professionally, you can hyphenate, or you can even keep your last name as a middle name, and he can take your last name as a middle name as well. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re on the same page on the issue before it becomes a problem.