Choosing Your Married Name

Marriage is a union of two people, in more ways than one. On your wedding day, you and your partner will not only enter into a spiritual union, but also a legal one. This union is often expressed with a name change. Traditionally, this involves a bride taking the surname of her husband as her own surname. This is something that many couples continue to do happily, but it’s not necessarily for everyone, and there are alternatives.

So, how do you go about changing your name after marriage? And if you don’t want to adopt a more traditional name change, what are the alternatives available to you? In this week’s blog post, we’d like to answer some of these questions, and explore some of the most popular choices that couples make. If you’re planning to get married, and you’re not sure what you’ll be calling yourself after the big day, we hope you’ll find this useful.

The Traditional Name Change

As we’re all aware, it’s traditional for a bride to take her husbands surname after marriage, with her previous name being known thereafter as her maiden name. This is a practice that has persisted across many cultures for a long time, and it’s something that many couples continue to do today. But how exactly does it work? In Ireland, you can simply start using your new married name after your marriage. However, if you wish to change your name on documents such as your passport, bank account or other similarly important legal documents, you’ll need to show your marriage certificate. So, in effect, it’s quite straightforward; simply start using your married name, and change your name on important documents using your marriage certificate as proof of your new name.

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Choosing Not to Change Your Name

An alternative which has become increasingly popular in recent decades is not to change your name at all. There’s no legal requirement that you change your name after marriage, so you’re free to keep your birth name if you wish. One reason you might choose to do this could be out of a sense of gender equality. Or perhaps you’re simply fond of your birth name. Keeping your birth name simply requires that you take no action at all, and continue using it as you always have done. As a result, this option has the advantage of convenience, in that no changes will be required and you’ll avoid any of the confusion that can potentially result from changing your name.

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Choosing a Double-Barrelled Surname

Another option that’s increasingly popular in recent decades is for a couple to join their surnames together into a new one. Many couples like the sense of unity that this communicates, and similarly to not changing your name at all, it might also be motiviated by a sense of gender equality. In order to do this, you and your partner should both apply to change your name by deed poll. While this is, strictly speaking, not a necessity for using a double-barrelled name, a deed poll provides formal documentary evidence of your new name. This will be useful in situations where, given that double-barrelled names are less traditional, your marriage certificate might not be accepted as proof of your name change. You can find more information about changing your name by deed poll on citizensinformation.ie, here.

Remember to Give it Some Thought

Changing your name is, for many couples, a romantic and wonderfully sentimental gesture; it’s easy to see why the practice is so popular. However, it also comes with it’s share of inconveniences, as adopting new name often leads to many a bureaucratic mixup. You should think carefully about changing your name without rushing into it. Consider which of the options best reflects your own values and your conception of marriage. It’s your name, after all!

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