changing your name after marriage
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Hyphenating Last Name After Marriage

Keep Both Names After Marriage

I have decided to hyphenate my name for professional purposes, but take his name for personal purposes. How would I change that legally? Would I write the hyphenated name on the wedding license? Or just his last name? I’m confused and don’t want to do it wrong!

Wedding Expert

More and more women are deciding to keep their names. There are a lot of reasons to want to keep your own name especially for women who have careers where they have built a name for themselves. More recently, we’re seeing more of a trend towards keeping both names after marriage. You can do this by hyphenating your last name and the last name of your husband.

For example, if your Groom’s name is Peter Ross and your name is Kim Gerard, you would name yourself Kim Gerard-Ross. This allows you to keep going by your own last name while legally adopting your husband’s surname at the same time. This is the perfect way of you keeping your own identity while also keeping your future husband happy. It allows you to stay connected to accomplishments that you achieved before you got married.

Wedding Queen

Actually, I believe that you use your maiden name on the marriage license and there is no mention of what you name will be after the marriage takes place. Speak to your minister or city hall clerk to be sure.

You will have to change your name to either the hyphenated name of your husband’s last name so choose the name you want to have on your driver’s license, social security card, etc. as your legal name. You can call yourself anything you want, but on legal documents you’ll use the legal name.

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Reader Response

So, if I want to be referred as “Sally Smith-Jones” professionally, but “Mrs. Jones” personally..I would have to change it legally to “smith-Jones” on the documents? My fiance is not happy that I want to hyphenate. My main reason is for professional purposes only. But, other times I will be referred by his last name only. What do you think would be the best option? Can I legally change it to just his last name, but hyphenate on my professional documents (business cards, work related documents).

Wedding Queen

We’re not attorneys here, we’re wedding experts, so if you need a real legal answer then, as I said in my previous response, please consult your city hall clerk or a local attorney. However, to my knowledge, I believe you can call yourself anything you want…heck, call yourself Gigi Magnolia if that suits you but change your name legally to whatever name you want the government to know you as (on your tax return, social security, when taking a loan from bank, etc.).

You really need to discuss this with your finace and come to an agreement that suits you both.

Faux Pas Bride

I work in science, so because I have already published, I will hyphenate my name legally just for work. So on my totally leagl documents (passport, licence, SS card, voting) I will use the hyphenated name therefore on anything I publish hereafter, I will use his name for credit cards, membership to stuff, etc. I actually already have a hyphenated name because my parents combined their names when they wed, so I also know that even at banks you can use just part of your name, because evn now I only use half my last name when I can which is almost everywhere. I think the biggies for you full legal name are SS card, voting, licence and passport.

Also you can drop your own middle name, use you maiden name as a middle name and just always use all 3 names when doing work related things, my friend did this. Just be sure when you put in for a legal name change you use the whole thing exactly how you want it. My fiancee is not jumping for joy about it either but he knows that is just protocal and that in 90% of life I will just use his name. Actually it is a fun way to filter junk mail and it shows who gave your info out!