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Posted by Donna Hart on 12th January 2017
New Year – New you – What’s in a name?

Many people were surprised to learn that Cheryl Cole changed her name when she married Jean-Bernard Fernandez Versini.  After all her name was her brand and how we all recognised her.  Many have now got used to her new name but is she likely to keep this in view of the fact that she is now separated and in a relationship with Liam Payne and is it even appropriate to keep your previous husband’s name when separate?


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 or enter into a civil partnership there is no legal requirement for you to change your maiden name and apparently more women in their 20s are choosing to keep their maiden name upon marriage which is a huge shift from the generations before.

What's in a name?

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 built a reputation at work where clients know them by name 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 husbands 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 Co can offer advice and assistance if you wish to change your name by preparing a Change of Name Deed, call 01392 421777 to talk to a family lawyer at The Family Law Company.

Need some advice? Get in touch today

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