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Changing Your Name After Marriage

A depiction of a person about to write their name on a chalkboardWhen you and your partner have decided to tie the knot, it can change your life in a number of exciting ways. Of course, the shift can also bring about a number of complications you might not know how to sort out. For gay couples, one of the biggest challenges is determining whether or not to change a last name after the wedding has ended. Since this tradition is steeped in heterosexual customs, it can be difficult to know if this is the best decision for you and your significant other. There are far more choices in front of you than you may realize, so take a look at these tips and see what decision might work best for you.

No Gender Roles

Though weddings are romanticized in the current era, these ceremonies were not always joyous occasions for those involved. Women were often unwilling participants in weddings. It was common for women to be married or sold off by their families in an ongoing quest for wealth, land, and power. Even as time moved on and women were no longer viewed as property in the arrangement, many of the traditions associated with weddings lingered on. The concept of changing a last name after a wedding is a relic of the old mindset, with the wife expected to take her new husband’s name.

Because of this history, plenty of straight couples have decided to forego the name-change game entirely. If you’re not interested in changing yours, then research some of the ways straight couples have circumvented this archaic tradition. Hyphenated names have become quite popular in recent years. This option allows you to keep the last name you were born with while also taking on the name of your partner. While this can be a great solution, it can also prove problematic for couples who have long names or already have hyphenated names from their own parents.

Another option is for both partners to ditch their last name entirely in favor of a new name you both agree on. You can amalgamate your names or simply choose something completely different.

Who Does What?

The most difficult question gay couples face when it comes to name changes is who should be the one changing the name. For straight couples, it’s predominantly the woman. While a lot of this has to do with gender roles, it can make matters complicated for LGBT couples. When two men are involved, who is supposed to change his name?

The beauty of this question is that there’s no real answer. Gay and lesbian couples can go in whatever direction they would like. There are no preconceived ideas about who should assume the name of the other. Since the legalization of same-sex weddings in the United States, couples have explored many creative ways of taking on this tradition. You can decide to keep your own name, take on your partner’s, hyphenate, or even amalgamate both into a brand new name all your own.

Know the Name Rules

If you decide to change your name in any capacity, you need to know the specific rules and regulations of your state. Typically, there is no time limit on changing it after you’ve tied the knot. You are definitely going to need to fill out a lot of paperwork, however, so be sure to get the process started right away if you want to go this route.

Getting married can be an exciting experience with a lot of decisions to make. When it comes to changing your name, be sure to take your time to consider all of your options before making your choice. The more research you do, the better your final results will be.

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