To Have, Hold and Hyphenate: Your Married Name

Why It Matters
In some professions, it just makes sense to keep your name.
In some professions, it just makes sense to keep your name.
Mike Powell/Thinkstock

The last name you choose is important … to a degree. What's more vital is how you and your spouse feel about it. After all, your name conveys information about your partnership. When you make your decision -- to keep your name, take his, hyphenate or create a new name -- think about these factors first.

Does the name:

  • present a unified front?
  • burden your children with a laboriously long last name?
  • continue a family name or naming tradition?
  • uphold a religious precedent?
  • honor your own identity?
  • protect your professional reputation?

Hyphenating your names is just one of many ways you can address the last name debate. Here are some other options:

  • Ask your husband to hyphenate his last name with yours.
  • Part with your maiden name altogether, keep your middle name and take his last name.
  • Have your husband take your last name.
  • Keep your respective last names, and create a new surname for your children that incorporates both.

Whatever option you choose, be prepared for plenty of paperwork to reflect your name change. And, of course, you'll have to update your passport, license and other forms of identification. But all the hassle is certainly worth knowing you're happy and feel honored by your name -- old, new, borrowed or merged.

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