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Posted by familylaw on 18th July 2014

Cheryl ColeMany people may be surprised to learn that Cheryl Cole is changing her name. After all her name is her brand and how we all recognise her. But of course, Cole was her previous husband’s name not her maiden name so is it appropriate to keep your previous husband’s name when you remarry?

Of course, there is nothing to say that when you divorce you have to revert to your maiden name and many women choose to be known by their married name, particularly if they have children.

When you marry there is no legal requirement for you to change your maiden name and according to a recent Facebook study a third of all women in their 20s are choosing to keep their maiden name. This may seem low but when you consider that only 26% of women in their 30s retain their maiden name and 12% of women in their 60s retain theirs, this is quite a substantial shift.

If you decide to continue with your maiden name you do not need to do anything. Should you wish to take your husband’s name you can simply forward a copy of your marriage certificate to the relevant authorities to change your name.

It would seem that this is still the most popular choice, and it is thought that the reasons for this are because it is the most traditional, people feel it is more socially acceptable and people often say that if they have children they want to feel part of a family unit and this includes all sharing the same name.

However, women sometimes find that if they have a particular reputation at work or just want to keep their maiden name to avoid confusion with contacts, they may decide not to alter their professional work name but share their husband’s name outside of work.

Another, less common option, is a husband taking his wife’s maiden name.

The process involved in this is different to that when a woman takes her husband’s name. A husband will need to change his name formally by a Change of Name Deed. Again, as women and men’s roles are now based on equality you have to wonder why this isn’t occurring more often. It would mean that everyone in the family would still share the same surname when it comes to raising children, but we wonder how would it sit with friends and family members that they were taking their wives’ surname?

The decision to double-barrel is becoming more widespread among today’s couples. Both the wife’s and the husband’s surname are combined to form a hyphenated version.

This allows both partners to maintain links with their family name, and at the same time recognise a change in their marital status. It also moves away from the traditional idea, where the wife takes her husband’s surname, while not abandoning the sharing of a surname completely.

In the USA couples are also now considering meshing their surnames where both couples surnames are ‘meshed’ to create a new one. Again should couples choose this option they would have to change their names via a Change of Name Deed.

The Family Law Company can offer advice and assistance if you wish to change your name by preparing a Change of Name Deed. Call our Exeter office on 01392 421777, or our Plymouth office on 01752 674999.

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