It’s a debate that divides many girlfriends and couples: will you change your last name upon saying I Do? You can either join the feminist anarchist camp and say hells no, or join the traditional conservative camp and sign up. Or are there other options?
The traditional approach is that the woman takes on her husband’s last name. This was because in yesteryear, women were considered property and a marriage was an acquisition of property. Therefore the woman was adopted into her husband’s family and took their family name. Whilst women are no longer property to a man any more than a man is property to a woman, tradition still has it that the woman adopts her husband’s last name.
For some women, having the same last name as your husband is an important unifying step in their relationship. Others would like to have the same surname as their kids, assuming the kids adopt the husband’s last name. 80% of women today in Australia choose to adopt their husband’s last name.
However, there is an increasing trend to defy tradition and more and more women are opting for the modern equal approach where they keep their name and identity. The average age of getting married is increasing, and many women have established themselves in their life and careers and do not wish to lose this identity. And there is the question of why should I? In Spain, the woman and man keep their last name and if they have a child, the child has a double hyphenated last name. Other European countries won’t let you change your last name legally.
In these days, there are a few different options. The man could of course choose to take on the woman’s last name, although according to a Men’s Health Poll a few years back, 96% of men were against it, even if asked by their wife.
There are couples where both partners double barrel their last name so they have a unified surname as do their children.
My wife and I considered combining our last names to create a new fusion one for both
of us. My last name is Lipschitz, hers was Tuch, so naturally Tuchschitz was born. However, we thought long and hard about the future of our unborn children and decided to abandon this plan. It was also sad to think about the loss of family history had we blended our last names.
Whatever you choose to do, you are not alone. If you do choose to change your last name, you will need a marriage certificate from Births Death and Marriage which can be ordered for $53 in NSW. I provide a ceremonial marriage certificate only, not an official standard one. Changing a name on a passport and driver’s license is free up to 12 months post wedding. This list might help you consider with whom you need to change your name. Good luck!