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The Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Surname After Marriage

This is a collaborative post

Struggling to decide whether to take your partner’s surname or not after marriage? This article may help you to decide what to do…

Now that our misogynistic views as a society are slowly but surely dissipating, many women are deciding not to take their husband’s surname. Of course, this has a number of pros and cons, so making an informed decision is certainly a good place to start.

If you decide to change your surname after marriage, a Leicester, Loughborough, London or Lincoln family lawyers will be able to help you with all your paperwork. That said, if you decide this paperwork is too much to deal with, there are a number of other reasons you might wish to keep your maiden name.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of each choice, and providing some insight for you into some middle-ground options too. Take a look…

The Pros of Keeping Your Surname After Marriage

In a world where traditions are being broken left, right and centre, there are many reasons why a woman might wish to keep her surname. These include:

Not Parting with Your Roots

Surnames are a marker on who you are, where your family came from, and what your ancestors and past was all about. Changing your surname might feel like you’re erasing this past. It’s no wonder a lot of women are hesitant to do so.

Not Having a “Man” in the Relationship

Taking a husband’s surname is quite an archaic thing to do. By keeping your own, you’re maintaining your personal autonomy, and not submitting to this old-fashioned ritual.

Having a Child in a Previous Relationship

Some women may already have a child before they’re married, and this child might share their surname. In order for this child to feel like part of a family, it may be wise to maintain your surname to avoid confusion and upset.

No Paperwork

These days, changing your surname legally isn’t as simple as signing a marriage license. Instead, you have to think about changing your name on IDs, insurance, credit cards, your passport, and your driving license. Not only will this cost you time, it could also cost you a fair bit of money too, especially if you get a family lawyer involved.

To add to this, in our online world, you’ll also need to change all your online accounts too. With almost everything being done online now, this could be extremely time consuming and frustrating, and you may forget multiple accounts along the way.

Confusion in Career

Successful careers are now becoming far more important to people than marriage, and many people will choose to establish themselves before thinking about settling down. This means that many women may be well-known in their career circle or field, so changing their surname could get confusing.

It might even affect your entire reputation built over time. By keeping your surname, you can avoid this pitfall.

Avoiding Misunderstandings

Generally, changing your name could be confusing for everyone you know and love. Avoiding this change could save a lot of corrections.

wedding rings

The Cons of Keeping Your Surname After Marriage

Now that we’ve gone through the reasons why a woman might wish to keep her maiden name, we need to get a balanced view. So, what are the cons to keeping your surname instead of taking your husband’s?

You Won’t Share Your Children’s Surnames

If you end up having children with your new spouse, it may be that they take your husband’s surname too. For starters, this might be confusing for your children. Not only this but, for a new mother, this can be tough to deal with, as you may want to share this part of you with them for an even stronger bond.

You May Not Feel as Connected to Your Husband

In a similar way to feeling connection with your children, the same goes for your husband. A marriage is a partnership between two people, and if you don’t go the whole hog, you may feel as though something is missing. It provides a sense of unity between the two of you.

More Difficult Business Transactions

It may also be simpler to share your husband’s surname for business transactions you may have to do on behalf of your spouse.

You Won’t be Able to Change Your Identity

For some people, it might be a blessing to be able to change your name and isolate yourself from your past. This could be the case if you don’t get on with family, come from an abusive past, or don’t want to be found by old school friends on Facebook.

You Won’t Avoid Your Tricky Surname

In other situations, you might wish to change your surname because it’s caused you a lot of trouble in the past. For example, if it’s hard to pronounce or is a little embarrassing, it might be something you’ve been dying to change for years anyway.

bride and groom hands

Is There a Middle Ground?

Names are such an important part of who we are, and many people may feel that the antiquated ritual of taking their husband’s name doesn’t suit them. That said, as we’ve seen from the points above, there may be other reasons that persuade them that it’s a good idea. So, in these cases, what are the middle grounds?


If you really don’t want to remove your maiden name completely, but you still want to share your name, you could both hyphenate. This solves many of the cons we’ve discussed above.

Child’s Name Hyphenated

Another solution could be to hyphenate the child’s name when kids come into the picture. For example, the wife could have the surname Johnson, and the husband could have the surname Cooper. The husband and wife could keep their names, and the child could be Johnson-Cooper or vice versa.

Keeping a Professional Name

For professional people, for example authors, actors, and business owners, changing a name could confuse things. So, having a professional name that is used in a work setting, and then taking your husband’s name in a familial and medical setting, could work.

Husband Takes the Wife’s Name

Although it is certainly far from traditional, research shows that the number of men taking their wife’s surname is on the rise. This could be the case for many reasons, for example:

  • The wife has a child with someone else, and wishes to keep her name to match theirs.
  • The wife wants to keep her professional name.
  • The woman’s name has a nicer ring to it.
  • Disagreeing with the implications of a wife taking a husband’s name.

What Will You Do?

As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons to both sides of the argument. That said, if you’re really struggling to decide, there are also some middle-ground options worth considering.

It’s certainly a tricky decision to make, but we hope this article has broken down your options for you. Whether you took your husband’s surname or not, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments down below.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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