I realize that it is perfectly legal to keep a married name, but is it ethical?Is it different if you do or do not have children together?Opinions?
after a divorce, one can legally change one's ENTIRE name, and it is not limited to just "going back to the maiden name" - it can become Betty RubbleBecause the man does not Own the name.It is just by what he is known.If he no longer wants a communal association - he can change his last name.Should one be required to not keep the name when a spouse dies?One is still no longer married...Changing a name is not just a matter of "what one goes by".It is a legal process which can be a Huge Hassle - Social Security Cards, Driver's licenses, credit cards, passports, property ownership.I think, whether children are involved or not, it is entirely up to the person who has to do the legwork.Even the above hassles aside, there is the intangible "hassle" of whether one has a known professional reputation under the married name. Having to explain (over and over) to every new business acquaintance Yes, I am Sally Swanson, who authored that paper/developed that procedure/made killer spreadsheets- whatever, but I got divorced and now I am Sally Maidenname is more "personal life" than most people want to interject.I think the "same last name as the kids" is something that does not matter at all these days.My frame of reference - I have an uncommon last name, have never been married, have 2 kids - both boys - one has my last name, one has his father's last name.My X's ex kept his last name - even AFTER she remarried.Neither of my sisters took the family name of their husband when they got married. They both have kids.They bth also have professional reputations under our common last name.My mom divorced my dad after 20 years of marriage (so we were all adults) and she kept his last name.peace & you can call me Alt
I guess there could be cases where it clearly wasn't ethical, like if the ex would've gone back to her maiden name but is keeping the ex's name just to make him miserable or because there's some prestige attached to the married name...if the intent is to accrue benefits or cause pain.Absent that, there's plenty of ethical reasons to keep one's married name after divorce, especially if someone has made their professional reputation under that name.I couldn't WAIT to get rid of my ex's surname after my first divorce. For many, many reasons, not the least of which nobody could pronounce it. The 2nd time, I knew I wouldn't be single very long, so didn't go back to my maiden name. I kept the ex's surname until I remarried. I wouldn't have minded keeping it forever, as my current married name, combined with my maiden name, is kind of a silly pun, but that was a deal-breaker to DH. cmPS: If you got a degree, etc. under a married name, you can submit paperwork to have a new diploma issued with your maiden name for $50 or so. I finally can hang up my college diploma after 30+ years.
after a divorce, one can legally change one's ENTIRE name, and it is not limited to just "going back to the maiden name" - it can become Betty RubbleOne of our clients did that. The problem was that she was "Jane Austen" in all of our records at the office. The only place her new name of "Emily Dickinson" showed up was on the final divorce decree. So, at the time, no one thought there was any reason to go back and change her name over multiple databases. She contacted us a year or so after her account had been purged from the active system and with a mostly new staff, there was a lot of confusion!I think the "same last name as the kids" is something that does not matter at all these days.Unless it matters to the kids. DD#1 had her maiden name when she gave birth to DGD#2. DGD#2 still has DDs last name, but 3 years ago, DD#1 remarried and took on her new husband's last name. Then they had DGD#3, who has her dad's last name. Now DGD#2 is the odd man out as it were. She recently mentioned that she wants to have the same name as her mom and sister. We're working on how to do that without her stepdad formally adopting her.LWW
The question of whether or not it's ethical to keep a married name is...bizarre to me. So bizarre that when I first read the question, I thought "that doesn't make sense", so I didn't answer it.I'm still thinking about it several days later, so I came back. Obviously something is bothering me about it, if I am still pondering it.Here's why I think the question about whether or not keeping a married name is ethical doesn't even make enough sense to ask in the first place:1) It's the person's name. Angie #1 couldn't accuse Angie #2 of being unethical just because Angie #1 came first. 2) The person who changed their name at marriage *chose* to take that name. Why in the world wouldn't they then get to choose whether or not to keep it? There's nothing inherently unethical in the process, either direction. (I'm purposely leaving out the debate about gender expcetations, because that's a whole 'nother sticky wicket, yes?)Now as to how the person decides to 1) originally take a new name at marriage and then 2) decides whether or not to keep the name after a divorce, I can only offer my own reasonings for both.When I married at the tender age of 20, I took his last name because:- My mother had taken my father's name. - I wasn't particularly attached to my maiden name, as I was young and was about to graduate college (I had my degree put in my maiden name, FWIW, because I felt I'd earned it under that name, even though I was about a month shy of finishing when I married). I didn't have an established career with that name.- I have a very unique first name. IT is the one most people fixate on, and for my middle name I am named after my Godmother and it means an untold amount to me that I have her name, so the last name? Kind of a throw away at that point.- I knew I'd give any children of the marriage his last name, matching seemed easier.- His last name didn't have any particular bad connotations to it. Nice, solid, regular name. I wouldn't be associated with the Kardashians or the Unibomber when someone heard it, in other words.The reasons I kept that last name at the time of the divorce:- My children had that last name. - There's a lot of paperwork involved in changing a name. It just seemed ridiculous to go through all that, for something that I still considered "minor" (all my reasons for changing it still applied - I wasn't particularly attached to my maiden name OR my married name, so <shrug>).- I had the notion that I a) wanted to get married again someday - I hadn't soured of the institution entirely, so would likely be changing my name again ANYWAY (see previous: don't really care what my last name is) and b) I wanted more children, and it would be weird to me to have three last names in the same household (as they, too, would likely have their father's name).- I had an established career, and professional network, with that name. The reason I changed my name to my second husband's name upon marriage:- Still was not particularly attached to my last name (either of the previous). - Marriage afforded me the easy opportunities of either leaving it as is (my two oldest children's last name), reverting to my maiden name, or taking my new husband's. The paperwork is the same for the last two, so they were equally problematic. IF I were to decide to change it, either was a viable option, and my new husband didn't care which of the three I chose.- It is a unique last name. Not terribly unique, like tconi's, but also not common for this part of the country. It fits well with my first name and hell, I was used to spelling my first name already, so spelling the last also? No biggie.- You can take the girl out of the South....though by my home state's standards I am quite the commie pinko liberal, I still have lingering Southern in me. Though I understand those marrying and deciding to keep their own names, *and* make no judgements about it (again - I had no attachment to my own name, but some do, whatevs) - it just wasn't the choice for me.- I had started to grow tired of having to correct people referencing my "husband" to "you mean the childrens' father, we are no longer married"...some might not find this a big deal, and truly it wasn't horrible really, but it could have lead to some major HIPPA violations, for example, as we both have the same dentist, GP and eye doctor. Yes, really and yes, still.- Some of it actually revolved around why we were marrying in the first place. A large part of the inconveniences we encountered were due to T being "mommy's boyfriend" instead of the kids' stepfather. Once I married, and changed my name, a relationship that seemed rather easy to follow in the first place but apparently was convoluted became "solid" in the eyes of the schools, daycares and other such offices. Magically, overnight. Stepfather apparently trumps Boyfriend, even though the only thing that had changed, since we were already living together, was we added a piece of paper to the mix. I don't know if this was because of the name change - I suddenly became visibly "not married to X" on paper - or because the cummulative effort on T's part to be visibly present at the school and other activities finally *clicked*, but at any rate it was a consideration in the matter.My new husband didn't care what name I either kept or took. Had zero opinion. My first husband nearly came undone when I was deciding whether or not to take his name (he wanted me to) and I just did not get the drama (considering I had no attachment to either name); he *also* had a weird moment or three around me KEEPing it, which I found absurd as well. In all three cases, it wasn't an action taken *lightly*. impolite
I kept my name both times I got married, not because I was particularly attached to it, though.I grew up being last name W, with mom, sis and step-dad being last name S, so that was slightly annoying.When I got married at 18, my first thought was that my last name would now be G, which would mean I was no longer at the END of the alphabet.But then someone p!ssed me off.The marriage certificate had not been officially filed yet, so I hadn't changed my name on military records/ID yet. We're talking like the Monday after the wedding.I went to the base credit union to deposit some money into new hubby's account.Branch asst manager called me into her office to tell me that I needed to change my name on their records.Um, no.1. Mom and grandma have worked in banking for years and years and anyone can make a deposit into any account.2. This is 1988, not 1888 and I don't HAVE to do anything.Then I thought about it more, and realized I just gotten my first adult account in my name, got my first CC in my name, bought my second vehicle with my first car loan in my name. And CRAP, I'd have to change it in all those places, plus run a chit in the military to do and and what a freaking PITA.So I said, "No, not gonna change it."Hubby1 didn't like it, but what could he do? And, well, didn't last long.Hubby2 was resigned to being "Mr. W". He has since remarried and she also kept her name. So, obviously, he doesn't care about that.Don't know what I'll do if I get married again.Without getting married again, I've considered a couple of things recently, since I have NEVER really liked my maiden name, and I'm not real attached to my father.One thing I'm considering is changing my name to my great-grandmother's maiden name (as far back as I can trace the female line at the moment).I'm also considering making a legal change to Ishtar and making up a last name.Ishtar
Folks,Actually, I don't consider this an ethics question. Do whatever you want; it is currently your legal name, correct?If you're the skier Fannie Schmeller, please, change it!Hey! Are you a Kennedy? ;-)Best regards to all,Sails
I think the only way it would be unethical to keep the ex's name would be if the divorced person did it ONLY to use it to embarass the ex/new spouse in the future---maybe if the ex was a judge in a small town and the name keeper was doing bad tricks (public drunkeness, prostitution, fraud, whatever) solely to "get back at" the ex.But even if that were to happen, all it would do would make people say to the ex, "gee, good riddance to the name keeper---you were sure smart to move on!"
I don't see it as an ethical issue whether a woman keeps her married name after divorce or reverts to her maiden name. Even if she does it out of spite. I married young and didn't feel ready to give up that aspect of my identity, my name--it is how I thought of myself. Mrs <first-husband's-last-name> was his mother, not me! But I eventually started using ex's last name--without changing it anywhere legally--for medical/kids' school records as records were getting lost or confused, and I wasn't being properly recognized as my children's mother. This was back in the 70s/early 80s when a suburban, non-professional woman keeping her maiden name was an oddity. The second time around, I might've changed my name what with 3 last names in the household, but second hubby's last name is very rare even in the Netherlands whence it came, hard to spell, hard to pronounce. My original last name seems less important as part of my identity, especially since my father died. But just yesterday, when we took a tour of the new local Boeing facotry under the auspices of a scientific organization of which my husband is a member...although he provided my real name, they used <myfirstname> <hubby's last name> on my badge. I didn't mind. My mother has always addressed mail to me using my husband's last name, which is more annoying.I used my maiden name as my daughter's middle name and deeply regret it. She travels regularly to Muslim countries and it's a Jewish name. I've pleaded with her to change it, to no avail :-( She is certain nobody notices or cares. I am not so certain. A rose by any other name...
Chiming in late...I kept xDH's last name after our divorce. I'd had that last name longer than I had my maiden name. It was now MY last name. Luckily when I discussed that with him, he agreed, so there wasn't any bad feeling about it.Now, however, I'm remarried. And I didn't feel that keeping DH1's name was appropriate. That felt like telling DH2 that I was willing to change my name for someone I'm willing to say bad things about now, but not willing to change it for him.That said, I've been married for more than 6 months and my old name is still on everything. Changing my name is such a PITA that I've been procrastinating.Frydaze1
Oh, and we don't have kids.Frydaze1
"Oh, and we don't have kids.Frydaze1 "^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^I am continually surprised how few divorced families raisegoats.Howie52Is it ethical to use the english language as a toy?
"Oh, and we don't have kids.Frydaze1 "^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^I am continually surprised how few divorced families raisegoats.Howie52Is it ethical to use the english language as a toy?I used to fight to keep people from changing the language. And then I realized that most of the English I was fighting to keep was, itself, changed from its original. In fact, most of us wouldn't be able to understand English as it used to be.In other words, English has always been a toy. You're just angry because it isn't exclusively YOUR toy.Frydaze1
Frydaze,England and the United States: Two countries divided by a common language.It wasn't until I read Chaucer's CTales: "The Miller's Tale" in the original that I appreciated English Literature. ;-)Now, that there's funny!Best regards,Sails
It wasn't until I read Chaucer's CTales: "The Miller's Tale" in the original that I appreciated English Literature. ;-)Now, that there's funny!My FIL says that DH became a fan of English Lit when he came home one day in 7th grade grumbling about having to read the Canterbury Tales (he hadn't cracked it open yet).FIL opened the book to The Miller's Tale and began reading it out loud. DH became a fan and ended up with a BS and MS in English. His dad blames it all on Chaucer :-)LWW
I think the one true measure of humanity is humor.The best feature of mankind is the leaning toward silliness.Keeps me relatively sane in an insane way.
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