Snapshot: Changing your name after you get married?

by singlemomseeking on October 24, 2010

“So, are you changing your name?”

This must be the No. 1 question I’ve heard from family and friends since I got married. The answer is a no-brainer for me (I’m keeping my last name), although I DO understand why some women would make the change.

Take Maria (pictured above), for example, who writes a very honest must-read blog at 1,000 Reasons I’m a Bad Mom.

Maria met her son’s bio-dad — “a cool, young guy” —  when they were on vacation in Berlin. “After I found out I was pregnant, I emailed him, telling him essentially ‘This happened, I am not asking anything of you. Let me know if you want to be kept in the loop, I will not question your decision.’ He opted for a passive-but-interested role.”

In the meantime, Maria met a great guy, “T,” when she was eight months pregnant. So, T. has been in her son’s life since he was born. (On her son’s birth certificate, she’d left the spot for the father blank.)

They are having a courthouse wedding in December, followed by a wedding ceremony on the beach with family and friends in Costa Rica, where Maria is from (congrats!).

Maria explains her personal reasons for changing her name to her new husband’s: When Maria’s mom got married again, her second husband happened to have the same surname as Maria’s Dad (wow!),  “so my sister and I share the same surname. It might be silly of me, but I think it helped us be sisters and not just half-sisters.”

“I also believe names have a lot of meaning, and I want my son to grow up being a full part of this new family — and indistinguishable from his future siblings. Also, since my son and I don’t look alike at all, it’s imperative that we have the same surname so security guards in airports don’t think I’m kidnapping him!”

So, I’m curious:

If you’re a single mom who got married, did you change your name to your husband’s?

If you’re getting married again — or, you’re open to this idea in the future — would you change your name?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Barry December 1, 2010 at 11:31 am

I can give a view from the other side. I remarried 2 years ago. My new wife had been married briefly as well and had changed her name back to her maiden name. She has built up a very well respected name for herself in our community and in the workplace. If I was younger and maybe my first time, I might have balked at her keeping her last name but I guess I am older and wiser now (yeah right, older anyway) The great thing is she also wanted to be recognized as my partner in this crazy life. She decided to hyphenate her last name. Cool…….

Funny side note: she is a middle school teacher and a high school softball coach. When I come by her classroom or players I often hear Hi Mr ………… (wife’s maiden name) I just laugh. Sometimes I am even feel like the coaches wife 🙂
.-= Barry´s last blog ..How Stealing An Ink Cartridge Was A Test =-.


Savored Life November 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I kept my married name after the divorce to have the same last name as the kids. I thought it would make it easier for them at school, etc. I had, and still have, no intention of keeping it indefinitely. The decision was intended for transitional reasons alone. At this point, I can’t wait to change it. He and I’s only connection are the kids. Taking a man’s last name, in my opinion, is an act of affiliating myself as part of one family. He and I are two separate units, not one. The man I am with now is amazing and when we get married, I’ll be taking his name without question. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned in a sense…


traci November 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

I hated changing my name when I got married – it just felt so wrong. I love my maiden name and it was so much a part of me that I felt like I was losing a part of myself when I finally (reluctantly) changed it. The first thing I did when I got divorced was change it back – and I will never change it again if I remarry. My kids don’t mind at all the I have a different last name – they know me as mommy anyway. It takes some people awhile to come around, but, hey, welcome to the 21st century! I hope when my daughter gets married one day that she keeps her name, too. It’s a personal decision, I find that people usually have strong feelings one way or another.


lina October 31, 2010 at 7:36 pm

my daughter and i currently have different last names and it really does bother the heck out of me! i’m always being asked “what connection do you have”. her father cxl our wedding a month before our wedding. she had his name because, he & i were to be married, and i wanted to change mine as well to his. well he cxl our wedding and moved far away- now i’m a single mom. he provides no financial support. I PASSIONATELY want to change her last name to my maiden name in order to be the same. if i ever get to the point of possibly marrying i don’t plan on changing my name at all. i want to be the same as my daughter.
.-= lina´s last blog ..Happy Halloween =-.


Semi-Hippie Solo Mama October 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Back when I decided to first start dating after my daughter was born I sat down and figured out what I wanted the outcome to be. I decided that the only way I was willing to devote myself to a man was if he was willing to devote himself to my daughter. The only way I would get married is if the man wanted to adopt my daughter. I was never married to her father and he disappeared before she was born so we both have my last name and I will always have the same last name as her. So we would either change our last name to his or him to ours. Though none of this matters anymore because I have decided that keeping our family stable is what’s best for us. Our little world works perfect the way it is.


BlueBella October 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

When I got married back in June I changed my name to my new husbands. It made me feel like we’re a unit even though for now my 3 children have my maiden name – since I didn’t want them to have my ex’s name, nor their bio fathers’.

Next year we’re persuing DH’s adoption of the kids and at that time we’ll change their names to DH’s so we all match – and he is their real FATHER. I’m a bit sad to change my son’s name, though, because my Dad didn’t have any boys of his own and this is a boy to carry on the family name. But, DH is the only son in his family, so I’m honored we get to carry on his family name. Also, we’re keeping my maiden name as a middle name so it will live on, too.


Trish October 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

While this is still a hypothetical for me, I know just what I’m going to do: hyphenate.

The thought of the…*ahem*…homewrecker (one of my nicer words for her) ever having the same last name as my boys (which apparently could happen in the near future, even 4 years after she earned my not-so-affectionate moniker), and me having a different one, is just a little too much to bear.

So my boys’ last name will stay firmly planted in my signature.

But I also want to pay honor to the man who eventually wins my heart, and to our union, by carrying his name as well.

It may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome from having to sign such a long name….but worth it, if you ask me.
.-= Trish´s last blog ..Hiatus =-.


Soccer Mom October 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

I just changed my name legally this morning after our Oct. 16th wedding. I miss not having the same last name as my kids but then again, The Girl will probably change her name when she marries later in life…and quite honestly I don’t really want the same last name as The Ex and his new wife…seems a bit weird for me.
.-= Soccer Mom´s last blog ..Go Away Old Friend =-.


singlemomseeking October 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Congrats @Soccer Mom! And, yes, I could see how having the same surname as your ex and his new wife would be strange….


Anna October 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm

When I got divorced, there was nothing more I wanted to do than change my name. Think of the most common name in the US, and that’s mine — Bleh. My maiden name was a very hard to pronounce and spell last name that I was very proud of because it came over with my immigrant grandparents. BUT my son said we couldn’t have different last names, and that was that.

Now that The Man is in the picture, I have fantasized about one day taking his name, just to rid myself of this pasty, bland last name. If and when it comes down to it, we’ll just have to see what The Boy says…


Martini Mom October 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I changed my name when I got married to my first husband… and then eagerly changed it back to my maiden name when we divorced. (I grew up with a different name than my mom, so having a different last name than my son wasn’t an issue for me.)

If my boyfriend and I ever get married, I’ll keep my name. No brainer. I was never entirely comfortable wearing my first husband’s last name, even before divorce was eminent. It just didn’t feel like me. And I don’t know why taking my boyfriend’s last name would be any different. In fact, we have a baby boy together, and we gave him my last name. Not because we’re not married – he’d have gotten my last name even if we *were* married – but because I wanted to pass on my last name, and my boyfriend already has two kids with his last name.

I think, for me, growing up in a very blended family where there were lots of different last names floating around, I just don’t associate same last names with a stronger family unit. At this point, I’m no more likely to change my last name than I am to change my first.
.-= Martini Mom´s last blog ..Theres something about Mommy =-.


Heather {Desperately Seeking Sanity} October 25, 2010 at 5:49 am

My ex-husband’s name became my middle name so that I still have that connection with my children, yet, I also have my husband’s last name.
.-= Heather {Desperately Seeking Sanity}´s last blog ..How Inmates and Airplanes Help Realign My Attitude… =-.


Momma Sunshine October 25, 2010 at 2:57 am

I changed my name when I got married the first time (and I still have my ex’s last name, in fact. If I ever get married again, I will change my name again. I don’t feel a huge connection to my maiden name…and I like the idea of being a “unit” with my husband, and sharing a name. However, I totally respect anyone who decides otherwise…
.-= Momma Sunshine´s last blog ..Happiness Is… =-.


S.I.F. October 25, 2010 at 12:18 am

I’ve actually thought about this a lot on my quest to be a single mother. Had I never faced such severe stage endometriosis, I likely would have never pursued single motherhood. I would have waited until the man I was meant to be with came along, and then we would have entered into that journey together. But life didn’t work out that way, and when faced with the decision of single motherhood or never carrying a child at all; there was no choice as far as I was concerned. After 1 failed IVF though, I only hope and pray now that this next round will work.

That said, I still believe in my heart of hearts that love is out there for me and that the father of my children will one day make his appearance. That the man I was meant to be with will step into that role with ease and WILL be their (I’m hoping for twins) father without question.

In that case, changing both mine and my childrens last names will be an easy choice for me. I think easier still, because there won’t be a bio dad in the wings to protest.

So yes, I am sure I will one day change my last name.

Unless he has just an awful last name… then we may need to negotiate! 🙂
.-= S.I.F.´s last blog ..Not Giving Up Yet =-.


Ofthesea October 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Well, for what it’s worth I am living proof that these things do happen, and a wonderful man can appear at the right time to complete your family.

Best of luck with that IVF!
.-= Ofthesea´s last blog ..Reason 103 My son terrorises Swedish tourists =-.


Wenchy October 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm

I got married a month ago and decided to take my husbands surname because it makes me feel part of HIM.


Jenn October 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

After much soul searching, I’ve decided to take my fiancées name when we marry. The only reason I thought twice is because my daughter’s name will be different than mine. Which I don’t love. But I don’t feel a part of my first husband’s family in anymore so I am anxious to get rid of that name.
.-= Jenn´s last blog ..Ride Resurface Repeat =-.


Honey October 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Jake and I haven’t decided about this yet. We won’t hyphenate, we’ll choose one…he has definitely indicated a willingness for it to be mine, though.


singlemomseeking October 25, 2010 at 10:06 am

@Honey: I LOVE the fact that Jake is open to taking your last name as his!


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