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Thread: Name change?

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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Name change?

    I didn't see a thread about this, so hopefully I didn't just overlook it.

    I've been trying to make a decision about something and I finally decided to turn to FORT for some much needed advice. I'm hoping there are some children of divorce out there that can give me their own opinion about what I should do.

    I've been married once before and I'm going to be getting married again very soon. I've been struggling with whether I should keep my former married name as a legal part of my new name or not. Its not because of any nostalgia, as my first marriage was nothing but a living hell from beginning to end. However, I have a daughter from my first marriage and it would seem weird not to have her last name as part of my name.

    I'm afraid she'll feel left out, as well, because she'd be the only one in the household with a different last name. Its particularly annoying because my first husband barely even contacts my daughter, much less have much of a role in her life. She's come to know my soon-to-be husband as her acting father and doesn't even give much thought to her "real" dad except to be sad when she dwells on the fact he doesn't call her. So keeping his name in mine is even more galling. However, I would never want make the decision to remove it from hers because its part of who she is, for better or worse (though I wouldn't blame her if she wanted to do it one day).

    Did any of you have a mother remarry and change her name? Did it even affect you if it did? I'm wondering if I'm overthinking this and maybe she won't even care now or down the road (she's six right now). Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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    Got wings 9/19/2012 buglover's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    I know a few people who have been married a couple times and they have utilized both last names due to children, etc. One woman used her 1st married name as a middle name and another woman hyphenated both last names to create one long name.

    My ex never calls my son at all. He only shows up for weekends and only if he doesn't have plans with his new family/wife. I kept my ex's last name for legal purposes even though I've re-married.
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    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Star, first of all, congratulations on your soon to be marriage.
    I am not in your situation. Also, name laws are different in Quebec. A woman retains her name when she gets married. So, I have a different name from my children, who have their father's name. Increasingly, children have hyphenated last names, using both parent's last name, such as Jane Smith-Doe. Which brings me to my suggestion/question: would your laws allow your daughter to have both her biological father and her acting father's name as a legal last name?

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    Being VIP Yardgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Hey Star,
    When my mom remarried she took on her new husbands name. She was going to keep the old one, but my sister and I didn't mind her changing so she ended up doing that. My father had died, so it wasn't a divorce situation but still the same sort of thing. I never felt awkward or weird not having the same last name as my mom. It seems more and more common nowadays so I would do what you feel comfortable with.

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    Premium Member dagwood's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    I have a friend who was in the same predicament but with 3 boys. She changed her name and kept theirs the same but used her husbands for the boys at school. I don't know if you can do that or not. As for changing her name, I think I would keep it the same and if she decides later on to change it then good for her.


    Congrats on the upcoming wedding, Star.
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    Premium Member burntbrat's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    My mother was married 5 times when I was a kid and her last name being different from mine never affected me emotionally or otherwise. But I was a bit older than your daughter. My daughter has a different last name from the rest of the family and in the beginning she did feel left out. Sometimes when we get something addressed to the *** family or *** household she is reminded and feels a little pang. It wasn't bad at all when it was just me, my husband, and my daughter. But when other kids started being born she started feeling hurt. However, the older she gets, the less it's an issue.

    I don't think I would keep the ex's last name. I don't know your fiance, of course, but my husband would not have liked it at all if I had something attached to my name that would remind him that I used to love someone else. I like DesertRose's idea of hyphenating your daughter's name. If that won't work, remember that there are lots of kids now-a-days with different last names so she'll have lots of company in the schoolyard.
    Last edited by burntbrat; 06-23-2008 at 02:06 PM.
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    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yardgnome;3073542;
    It seems more and more common nowadays so I would do what you feel comfortable with.
    I was about to post this. The families I encounter that all have the same name are few and far between these days, so whatever works for you and your daughter.

    Since your ex doesn't appear to want to be in the picture, and your daughter is fond of your intended, is it entirely out of the realm of possibility that he could legally adopt her? Then everyone could share a name.
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    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Though I'd like nothing better than to remove my ex's name entirely from the picture, I agree with dagwood. It doesn't seem my place to do that, even though I legally can (his parental rights have been entirely removed). It feels like something that should be her decision to do when she gets old enough to understand what it all means.

    Burntbrat's comments are what I worry about in the short term. My daughter will have three step-siblings and possible future siblings with all the same name while she's the different one. I just hate to think of her feeling left out. It does make me feel better to see that some of you didn't think anything of it growing up, though. I often make things out to be a bigger deal in my head than they actually are in reality. Divorce and remarriage is just such a tricky road that it seems there's always second-guessing when it comes to whats right for the kids.
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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Star, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! All the best to the two of you.

    I don't have any personal experience with this, but I'll share what two of my friends did: the first one simply kept her first husband's name. It didn't bother her but then again, she had a good relationship with her ex and they had joint custody of their daughter. The second friend had two children, and the older one (at age 9) wanted her own name to stay the same. So the two children had their "original" last name, and my friend took her husband's name. It was no problem for them at all (they're adults now).

    If it were me - I like the idea of hyphenating the names. My oldest daughter was born before my husband and I were married, and I hyphenated her name (my maiden name & his name). When we did marry, we changed her name to my husband's name, and I did the same. It's a personal choice, of course - I didn't change my name the first time I married (there were no children from that marriage anyway) but it was important to my second and current husband that I take his name so I agreed. I don't think your daughter will really mind having a different last name but I know that if I were in that situation, I would be thinking as you do. But if you do decide to hyphenate, you can always change it at a later date if you find you're not comfortable with it.
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  10. #10
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Re: Name change?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer;3073617;
    Though I'd like nothing better than to remove my ex's name entirely from the picture, I agree with dagwood. It doesn't seem my place to do that, even though I legally can (his parental rights have been entirely removed). It feels like something that should be her decision to do when she gets old enough to understand what it all means.
    Star, I have no personal experience with this but here are my thoughts anyhow. I would not want to keep the last name of an exhusband who I didn't care for. So for you, I can see you changing your name to your new spouse's last name. I would ask your daughter if she would like to change her last name to the same one as you and your new husband. I realize she's only six, but she may have an opinion as to what she would like to be called. When she's older--if she feels strongly about wanting her bio father's last name, she can get it changed back. Or, you can make her current last name part of her middle name.

    So if her name currently is "Lily Sandra Smith," and your fiance's last name is "Jones," she could become "Lily Sandra Smith Jones"...and she could go as "Lily S. Jones."

    Or you and your daughter can use your maiden surname and then you'll both share a lovely name without any bad memories.

    In the long run, there are so many blended families these days and people who change their names for whatever reason. I don't think you'll be harming your daughter by doing any of the suggestions you've received, or the ideas that you've had. I know plenty of women who kept their maiden names, so their names are different from their husband's and children's last name. When they go out to eat, they use whichever last name is easiest for the hostess to pronounce.

    And congratulations on your upcoming wedding! How exciting!!!

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