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Should a Woman Change Her Last Name After Marriage?

Should a Woman Change Her Last Name After Marriage?

Tag with Mrs written on it

When you get married, you have many decisions to make for the wedding: color scheme, the venue, food, wedding entourage, and many others. But there are also decisions to be made after the big day. One of those will be whether or not you’re retaining your maiden name. While retaining your maiden name after marriage in the Philippines is not a very common practice, many women choose to keep their maiden name by hyphenating it with their husband’s surname.

Are you considering of retaining your maiden name? Or do you want to carry your husband’s last name like a badge of honor? There’s no right answer that works for everyone and there are several things to consider before you reach your decision.

In this article, we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of not changing your name after marriage.

Is It Required to Change Your Surname After Marriage?

When Filipino women get married, they automatically think that they have to change their last name to that of their husbands’. However, this is just one of three options.

According to Article 370 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, it states that a married Filipina may use:

  • Her maiden first name and her husband’s last name
  • Her maiden first name and last name hyphenated with her husband’s last name
  • Her husband’s full name with a prefix such as “Mrs.” to indicate that she is his wife

This law basically states that it’s not mandatory for married women to carry their husband’s surname. The law gives Filipinas a number of choices, including keeping their maiden name after marriage.

 

woman with wedding ring holding a letter

Pros and Cons of Changing Your Last Name

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Should a woman change her last name after marriage?” and the various options supported by Philippine law, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of this article: the advantages and disadvantages of changing your last name to that of your husband’s.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to a married couple sharing the same surname. While you may not see the effects immediately, there are both good and bad points to consider for both your future and the future of your family.

Let’s dive right in!

The Pros

    • Having the same surname throughout your family unit makes things more special and simpler at the same time, especially if you decide to have children. With the same surname, you’re more easily recognizable as one family. This can make things easier when you start dealing with schools, vacation trips, or avoiding awkward conversations with other parents.
    • If for some reason you don’t like the sound of your maiden name, this is a quick and easy way to embrace change.
    • Many Filipinas feel that sharing the same surname with their husband helps them feel more like a family. Changing their last name is a significant and official symbol of their commitment to each other.
    • Whether you intend on keeping your maiden name after marriage or not, many people will assume that you changed it to your husband’s last name. This means they might begin addressing you as “Mrs. ____” whether you like it or not.
    • Making dinner conversations, personalizing decor items, and monogramming home goods all become easier.

The Cons

    • One of the major disadvantages of changing your name after marriage is that you may feel like you’re losing a sense of your self or your identity. After all, you’re getting married, not becoming a different person. If your maiden name contributes a lot to your self-identity, perhaps changing your last name might not be a good idea.
    • It may go against your feminist principles. After all, why does a woman have to change her name to that of her husband’s and not the other way around?
    • If you are an only child and the last in your family with your last name, you may not want to give it up to prevent its extinction.
    • If you are well-known in your field or industry, it may be hard to re-establish your reputation if you suddenly change your last name. Name recall is an actual phenomenon in business networking and you may lose a bit of your branding with a different surname, especially if your husband’s name isn’t well-known.

 

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Pros and Cons of Hyphenating Name After Marriage

If you decide that changing your last name isn’t for you, you still have the option of hyphenating your maiden name with your husband’s surname. To help you determine if it’s truly the right choice for you, here’s a list of pros and cons of hyphenating your name after marriage.

Advantages of not changing your name after marriage

    • You still keep your name. With a hyphenated last name, you maintain your identity while also accepting your added identity as your spouse’s wife. Your friends, clients, and colleagues won’t lose track of you after you get married.
    • You honor your family legacy. Hyphenating is a good option if you have an influential last name or if you’re the last in your family to carry the surname.
    • You get to keep your professional identity. Hyphenating is great if you use your current last name for your career. For instance, are you a lawyer, doctor, or business owner? If so, it may be best to keep your last name and hyphenation can help you in this regard.

Disadvantages of not changing your name after marriage

    • You’ll have a long name. Having a hyphenated surname means you’ll have a long last name. You’ll likely find yourself in situations where you’ll run out of space when filling out your surname on paper and online forms.
    • It will be complicated for some people. If you become inconsistent with using your hyphenated last name, you might end up confusing people. It’s best to always say your full hyphenated surname, be it personal or professional settings.
    • The name change process isn’t any easier. Hyphenating your last name is considered a legal name change so you’ll still need to go through the entire process on how to change your surname after marriage. This means updating all of your legal documents (passport, driver’s license, social security card, etc.) and personal accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, office ID’s, etc.).
    • You’ll have a different last name from your spouse and children. In Article 366 of The New Civil Code of the Philippines, a natural child acknowledged by both parents automatically uses the father’s surname. That means you and your children won’t have the same surnames unless your spouse changes their last name to a hyphenated one too.

 

Blank tag, amongst wedding decor

My Husband’s Last Name or A Hyphenated Surname: Which One is Better?

Changing or keeping your maiden name after marriage is a big decision. However, there’s no right or wrong answer to the question: Should I use my husband’s last name or keep my maiden name?

It all boils down to your personal preferences and the mutual understanding between you and your husband. If your husband doesn’t mind you not fully taking his surname after you get married and you truly want to keep your maiden name, then go for a hyphenated surname. If you don’t want the complications or disadvantages of not changing your name after marriage, then it’s better to go the traditional route.

No matter what you decide, be sure to listen to your heart and make the best decision for your personal situation after you’ve weighed the pros and cons of each option.

Chryss Segovia
Author: Chryss Segovia

Chryss loves ice cream, literature, and East Asian pop culture. She would like to pet your dog.

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