Before I got married, I really debated about what I’d do with my last name.
On the one hand, I really wanted myself, my husband, and any future children we might have to be a “real, united family”, and share the same name.
On the other hand, I like my maiden name. I also don’t like the symbolism of just taking the name I was given and throwing it away, replacing it with my husbands name. Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I have to leave all my single life behind.
When my mom got married, she changed her last name to my father’s last name, and changed her middle name to her maiden name. But therefore, she no longer had any legal relationship to her given middle name. It just went kaputs out the window. I didn’t like that idea, either. I wanted to keep all the names I was given, but add on this new part of my life.
I decided that I would keep my given middle name, change my maiden last name to an additional middle name, and take on my husband’s last name. I’d go from “First Middle Maiden” to “First Middle Maiden Married”.
Two things complicated this.
First, when I got married, I was in my last year of law school, and about to start applying for jobs. I thought that this would be the perfect time to change my name, since I hadn’t actually started working full time yet. I could just introduce myself to employers with whichever new name I chose, and that would be the end of it.
I forgot that all those new potential employers will want to contact former employers, who know me by my maiden name. This requires explaining that I HAVE a maiden name on my resume, which in turn basically puts my marital status on my resume. So much for privacy.
Additionally, the state where we got married has some pretty funky rules for name changes. Apparently, if you want to do anything other than drop you maiden name and take on your husband’s name, you have to note so on the application for a marriage licence. I knew this going in, but there was no place on the licence that said “New Name”, so I got confused and apparently didn’t indicate the name properly. When I went to the DMV to change my name on my driver’s licence, therefore, I could only change it to “First Middle Married” without getting a court ordered name change. So, the legal system sort of forced me to take on a different name than I wanted.
I’ve been married for almost a year, and I honestly have no idea what my name is. All I know is that my first name is and will always be my first name, and I tend to rely on that. I sign emails and letters as much as possible as “-First”. On my resume, I wrote First (Maiden) Married. On Facebook and G-mail, I’m First Maiden-Married. If I had it to do all over again, I don’t think I’d change my name at all. It’s nice to have the same name as my children, but its really just not worth it in the end.