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Author Topic: Keeping Your Last Name
Leonide
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Strider and I have been going back and forth on the issue of changing your name upon marrying and issues of children's surnames.

Do you think a married couple has to have the same last name, in order for the children all to have the same last name? Should the wife be obligated to take the husband's name, or vice versa? What's the ettiquette when one comes from a family that pretty much outright expects the woman to take the husband's name? And how should the husband react if he is counted upon by his family to keep his last name, but the wife wants to keep her own?

Thoughts, own stories?

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Nato
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One of the coolest people I know is a hyphen kid.

I don't know if I've ever met a kid who wasn't okay with a hyphenated last name. They might eventually pick something, but it's not bad to have a hyphen.

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Daedalus
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Forget whatever the hell the rest of the family wants to do with your name.

Traditionally, as you know, the wife takes the husband's name. Though I know plenty of couples that share last names and pass them on to their children -- it's a way, I'm told, of asserting the wife's equality in the marriage.

Do whatever makes you both happy. Just don't let your families' opinions decide your happiness for you.

And all this is leading up to the next biggest question after what Strider may ask... Will Strider ask the first biggest question anytime in the near future? Are we invited? Will there be napkins in the shape of flowers and various fowl species?

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Ela
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I kept my own last name when I got married. I like my last name and I wanted to keep it. Hyphenating our two surnames together was an option, and one that some of our friends took. My husband and I discussed it and decided that our two surnames hyphenated would not roll off the tongue too well. [Razz]

I am sure that my husband's parents expected me to take on his surname, but we never discussed it with them, as we felt it was our decision, and they never mentioned it, that I can remember - at least not to me. They may have said something to my husband, but if they did, I don't recall him ever sharing it with me.

Our children have my husband's last name. (My sister went the route of giving her children our surname as a middle name, but I didn't do that.)

When my children started school, of course, everyone expected me to have the same last name as my children, especially in an orthodox Jewish community. Women who keep their own last names are just not common in our community. The result is that I am often called by my husband's last name, now, and I accept that, even though it is not legally my name. And I imagine that some have found it odd that I would keep my last name, but they have mostly kept their opinions to themselves.

Hope this helps.

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Toretha
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my godmother hyphenated her name, and gets really annoyed if anyone leaves her maiden name off the last name-although she doens't mind if they leave her husband's name off. Seems to work pretty well-but they have no children, so i dunno how that'd work, but it can't be that bad to have a double last name!
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Belle
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I believe everyone in the nuclear family needs to have the same last name. Which name you choose to take is up to you. I just think that names are powerful things, and it's important to be able to identify yourself as part of a family, and that's something best accomplished by sharing a common name.

I had no burning desire to hold on to my maiden name, so I cheerfully took my husband's.

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Leonide
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Oh man, Lalo, hush yourself.

That question is a long way off.

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Daedalus
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Well, okay, I'll give you time. I realize it takes time to decide that most important of decisions, that most sacred of commitments.

Though if my vote means anything to you, I'm for napkins shaped as fowl. Flowers are SO yesterday.

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Leonide
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I think i'd prefer to have wet naps.

[Razz]

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Strider
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yeah lalo, and your comments just added another 100 days to it. good job man.
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sarahdipity
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I think there can be very real reasons to keep your maiden name. I am not sure what I would do but I think I'd probably keep using my current name at least in a professional context. I've heard several stories about women having problems with things like publications because people hadn't realized that their name had changed and they weren't copying someone else's work.

I'm not sure I would have known if my friend's parents had kept their own names. I think that it's become so common at this point that I just don't notice anymore.

Can one had two names one you use professionally and one for your personal everyday life?

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Leonide
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is this the part where we tell them we've been married since Christmas?

edit: wet naps were truly inspired. i recommend them for sloppy wedding foods like hot wings!

[ April 01, 2004, 12:32 AM: Message edited by: Leonide ]

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Annie
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My mom, after my dad left her, has kept his last name. She does this because she thinks family unity is important and wants all of her children to know that we are still one family. Personally, I really admire that. Plus, I think what she's made of herself with the family surname is far more of a credit to it than anything my dad and his brothers have done with it.

I'll be glad when I get married to take my husband's name as a sign of unity and family loyalty. Plus, I think sacred covenants are symbolised by taking on a new name. Just as we take on the name of Christ when we are baptised, (using the metaphor of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride) the wife takes the husband's name to show that they are one in purpose.

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imogen
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My Mum kept her last name - all us kids are Dad's name. It hasn't made me feel like we were less of a family, or that we weren't united in any way. Mum's name is important to her partly because of it's her professional name (she's a doctor) and partly because it's her name. I think it's important for all the kids in a family to have the same name though.

Tony and I have discussed it (on the off chance he decides to ask me to marry him... watch this space [Wink] )and while I can see the symbolic value of taking Tony's name, I'm keeping mine. I've done a lot of things I'm proud of as Imogen Saunders. Even though it's just a name, I don't want to detatch myself from those achievments in any way.

(Besides, Imogen Eaton just sounds funny)

Tony has written all his books under his name, so he wouldn't want to change for the same reason as I don't. And I don't know, I just have a thing about double-barrelled names. I'll be very happy to have all our kids as Eatons though.

All that said - I don't have a problem with people changing their names. I just don't think it's for me.

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Zotto!
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I'm a hyphenated kid: Orbe-Smith.

It's actually kind of weird: my mom didn't change her last name when she married, and me and my brother got a combination of her and my dad's last name. When our parents got divorced, however, my mom remarried and DID change her last name. Depending on who I'm with, people will ask if my last name is Heu, when I'm with my stepdad, Orbe, when I'm with my biological father, or Smith when I'm with my mom's family.

Besides the occassional confusion, though, there haven't really been any "problems" with all the different names in our family. [Smile]

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fiazko
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Sometimes it depends on what the last names are. I had a professor in college who kept her last name because her husband's name was Stump. I guess she wasn't too into that. I, on the other hand, fully intend to give up my last name eventhough I'm the last in the line. I'm a girl anyway, so does lineage even count?

Anyway, sure, it's traditional for the woman to take the man's name, but there's no law that says it has to be that way. Do whatever works for you.

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Tzadik
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I like this thread, let me add my view. Actually, what I am going to write, most of you have not heard of, probably.

It is rather common here that wives take their husbands' name, however in past years many chose stick with their name. One way or the other, it's cool with me. BUT, if you are Slavic (Czech, Slovak etc.)you not only change your name, but that name has a different from than your husband's name. It's the grammar thing and also distinguishes males and females.

So take an example, my last name is Dedina. If lissande choses to take my name, her last name will be Dedinova. For the female names you usually take -ova suffix. How do you like that? [Big Grin]

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Shigosei
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I like my ova over easy...

Should I ever get married, I will probably take my husband's last name just to avoid confusion. Although I'm kind of partial to the name I have now, so maybe I won't. Perhaps I can convince my husband to take my name...

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Ayelar
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...

[ December 09, 2014, 06:04 PM: Message edited by: Ayelar ]

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dkw
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I have friends whove kept their names, friends whove hyphenated (some with her name first, some with his), and some where the bride and groom made up a new name combining letters from both of their previous names.

Personally, I went round in circles on this one for about three weeks, with Bob assuring me constantly that it was completely my decision and hed be happy whatever I decided. I want to have the same last name as my children, and none of the hyphenated variations were particularly appealing. I tried signing my name in various ways, typing it, saying it, and having other people say it to see what it sounded like.

Finally, Bob admitted that, while he would be completely fine with whatever decision I made, it would make him very happy if I took his name. Problem solved! The man is willing to move to the Midwest and join me in the United Methodist itinerant system moving every 5-7 years wherever the Bishop decides to send us. So far hes making every sacrifice in this relationship and Ive had to give up nothing. Id do a lot more than change my name to make him happy Dana Kay Scopatz it is.

Besides which, Ive always been more attached to my initials that my actual last name, and Ive decided to keep initialing things dkw just to confuse people. And he showed me how to sign the last name with a cool little flourish where the tail from the z crosses the t. Very fun.

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dawnmaria
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I was going to keep my last name and my husband was cool with it until we actually got married. Then it was all about "Isn't my family name good enough for you!?". I wanted to keep my name because it is unusual (Canaan) and hey after 30 years you get used to a name. So I just moved it to the middle name slot and on important papers I sign 1st name and both last names. He's happy and I am actually glad now that I took his name. It feels right.
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Farmgirl
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I kept my maiden name. Always.

And my firstborn son has my maiden name as his last name. By choice. When we had him, I asked the gal filling out the birth certificate if I could give my son my last name instead of his father's (because my father had only daughters, no sons, to carry on the family name) and she said, "honey, you can name him Howard Johnson for all I care. Whatever you put down on this paper is what he is named. It doesn't have to be either of your names." So I gave him my last name, after my father, to carry on our unusual family name.

My husband-at-the-time had no problem with that. He had a great deal of animosity toward his father, and didn't even care for his last name himself.

My other two legally have hyphenated last names, however usually they just use their father's last name routinely, because it is short (four letters) and easy. My last name is 9 letters.

There has been absolutely no problem with us having different last names in our family

Farmgirl

edit: By the way, the real problem with hyphenating your last name, is that invariably everyone you come in contact with will drop one portion of the other of your last name. People just don't deal with it. It won't "fit" on many forms. So if you go by Smith-Jones, people will call you "Mrs. Jones" no matter HOW much you correct them. So if you're going to hypenate, you might as well just go with the last name (portion of the hyphen) because that is how you will end up being called by everyone. Very few people properly address a person as "Mrs. Smith-Jones" but I try very hard to be correct with it with the friends I have with hyphenated names. Because, to me, the hyphen says the FIRST part of that name is important to that person.

[ April 01, 2004, 08:48 AM: Message edited by: Farmgirl ]

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Bob_Scopatz
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[Big Grin]

Dana [Kiss]

It would be seriously fine with me if Dana wanted to keep her own name. I struggled hard to not give an opinion because I felt it was important that it be her decision.

But then, I thought, if you actually HAVE an opinion, isn't it unfair to both of you not to share it?

The thing is, it does make me VERY happy that Dana will take my name. We'd already decided that the children ( [Eek!] ) would be non-hyphenated. But who knows, maybe they can have Williams as a middle name? Like how the rich people do it (Fitzgerald Kennedy...)

Anyway, I truly could go with any of the possible ways of doing this. But I'm secretly (I can't keep a secret, though) glad that Dana is going the name change route.

Thankfully, we have that t-z flourish to make it all worthwhile.

[Razz]

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Farmgirl
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I think it is cool that she decided to go with your last name, Bob, just because it is such a cool last name. I mean -- there can't be that many "Scopatz"'s out there.

And all her life she has had a name (Williams) that's as common as rain.

Now she gets to experience all those people who say, "Now how do you spell that?"

[Wink]
Farmgirl

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dkw
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And I've been dealing with that ever since we announced the engagement.
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celia60
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My mother re-married and took a new name, so through all of high school, we had different names. I was pretty glad to get rid of my maiden name. Or almost get rid of it. The University occasionally forgets that I'm married because I applied under my former name.

It's sort of the same deal as alr. My father hasn't been a part of my life for a long time, why should I be stuck with his name?

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PSI Teleport
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My husband's family is EXTREMELY traditional. Things are pretty "strict". But when his youngest uncle got married to a very strong woman with ideas of her own and a business of her own, she kept her last name, giving a hyphenated name to their daughter. I don't really think anyone in the family was bothered by that.

The point is that the issue of last names is far less important than all the other issues that will face a couple. Nowadays, most people in a family have different names from each other, so the kids likely wouldn't be considered "weird" or get outcasted by it. As long as they know they have a strong support group in their parents, that's really all that matters.

If I were you, I'd pick the name that sounds best. [Big Grin]

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Bob_Scopatz
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And see, I've longed all my life to have a common last name so I could feel like I had a million relatives.

Scopatz is indeed rare. But there are more this generation than last. (My dad was an only child, he had two sons, my brother has 3 sons...)

We're taking over!!!

Soon, the whole world will be Scopatzs

And dkw is going to help make that happen.

Bwah ha haa ahahahahahaha

You all might as well change your last names now. Avoid the rush.

[ April 01, 2004, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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katharina
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Hee. [Smile]

I figure I'll change mine. There are an overwhelming number of male Pilkingtons, and I could never, ever hyphenate that. Can you imagine?

I'm glad my mom didn't - her maiden name was Dittlinger. I could have been Katharine Dittlinger-Pilkington.

Pilkington also sucks as a middle name. My brothers all have maiden names for middle names, but not Dittlinger. Their middle names are Steele, Parker, and Dare - all of which I think are very cool.

Anyway, as for the topic, there was an article on this in this month's Atlantic Monthly, but it's not online yet.

Basically, the high of women keeping their own name hit in the early nineties, and the trend is going the other way. The speculation was that keeping your own name was a symbol of something that no longer needs to be symbolized because it is a reality. It was a small act in a feminist struggle that doesn't as much of a fight anymore.

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dkw
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[Kiss] to my megalomaniacal darling.

[ April 01, 2004, 10:53 AM: Message edited by: dkw ]

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Alexa
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I have always thought it made more sense for the children to take the moms last name (no special thoughts on if the husband should also take the wifes last name).

The reasoning is simple, when you are doing genealogy, you are never as sure with who the father is compared with who the mother is.

I mean, a woman can sleep with someone else, while married, and have a baby and convince everyone it is the husbands; whereas, if a woman gives birth to a baby, there is no question who the mom is.

Maybe this position is irrelevant with test tube babies.

That being said, when my parents divorced, my mom kept her married name. True, my dad was a complete and utter *explicative,* but she hated the idea of us kids sharing our names with our dad and not her. She wanted the unity and we have not faced any problems with that.

I am not invested enough in the name thing to use my marriage to make a statement, so I am sure our kids (3 months to go before our first!) will have their father's last name. I dont think it matters one way or another what you choose.

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PSI Teleport
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Just don't do what my cousin does.

Gets pregnant with her boyfriend at the time, and gives that kid the father's last name. Then she breaks up with, or gets broken up with by, the boyfriend and starts the process over with another guy. Now all of her kids have different last names from each other, and from her.

I think she's trying to rope a man.

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katharina
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One of my best friends is determined to take his wife's name, but then, he's also determined to refer to his children and himself only in the third person to see what that would do to them.

So, TIFWIW.

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Leonide
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quote:
Finally, Bob admitted that, while he would be completely fine with whatever decision I made, it would make him very happy if I took his name. Problem solved!
Indeed, Dana. This is how I finally resolved the issue myself [Smile] Greg comes from a very family-oriented Jewish household and they expect him to carry on the family name. Plus, he is personally very attached to it because that's what everyone called him through high school and college: Nirshberg. Since we both agree that any children should have the same last name, and since I'm not quite as attached to my last name, personally or otherwise, I decided to take his. I'll keep Apple as a penname, because i am going to college for writing and it just sounds more writery. [Smile]
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Dan_raven
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There is a Country Song out now that I really hate. It starts out fine, talking about a man who is proud of his last name. As a boy he would fight anyone who made fun of it. It tells how his grandfather died fighting in WWII, and his other ancestors were brave and great people. It tells how his name is the most valuable thing he owns, for it connects him to all of that wonderful history. And in an act of love, he wants to give that name to his girl.

What I find upsetting is it assumes that the girl's name is worthless, that her ancestors were not worthy of remembering, and that she should forsake her name for his.

My wife took my name, because, due to divorce, remarriage, and fate, she ended up with the last name Skipper, and she was tired of all the Gilligan Island jokes.

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dkw
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Shocking victory of sentiment over principle.

[Big Grin]

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Leonide
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it's hard trying to be militantly feminist all the time!
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BannaOj
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Hmmm,

You know if Steve and I ever wind up getting married, I highly doubt I'm going to change my name to exactly match his.

I just thought of changing it to my Grandmother's maiden name though which has basically been lost to the family. Maybe if we did ever decide to have children, I could give it to our kids as either a middle or a last name instead. I think they would be much happier with that last name than either his or mine.

Isbell is bad, because there are way too many times and ways it gets mispelled,or misunderstood and Jones is bad because it is way too common.

Laurent would be much nicer all around. And it is the side that even though it has basically died off has the coolest family history that I am the most proud of.

If we do get married I have considered hypenating. I know you math geeks out there would understand the coolness of having the initials [AB]jij

Though my own [AB]ji are pretty cool too.

AJ

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Mrs.M
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I had always intended to change my name (unless the man I married had a truly horrible last name). With fiancee #2, I would have kept my last name b/c his was awful and sounded even worse with Kira. I was happy to change to Andrew's last name. My mother really wanted me to keep my maiden name (not that she kept hers) b/c she just likes Gardner better than Marx. I do too, but not enough. Everyone in Georgia still calls me Kira Gardner b/c it's a tradition there to refer to women by their maiden names.

It was especially important to me to take Andrew's name because his family was so nearly wiped out during WWII. Every new Marx is a triumph.

Of course, there are legal, professional, social, and personal names and women can have a different name for each of those arenas. I have a friend who is getting married and legally and socially taking her husband's name, but keeping her own professionally (she's a dancer). Socially, I go by Mrs. Andrew Marx. However, if I am writing a personal letter, I'll sometimes put Kira Marie Gardner in parenthesis under the signature. It depends on the recipient. I went by Kira Marx professionally and I go by Kira Gardner Marx personally.

I think that it can be difficult for parents to have different names from their children. It's certainly difficult for those of us who work in child care. For example, you don't want to call a woman by her ex-husband's name if she is locked in a bitter custody battle with him and restraining orders are involved. Some of the kids don't care about having different names than one of their parents, but a lot of them do.

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jeniwren
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I changed my last name both times I married. The second marriage, however was harder to decide than the first. If I changed it, it would be different from my son's last name. If I didn't, then my new husband would feel like I had more of an attachment to my ex-husband (by retaining his last name) than I did to him. Since I plan to be married a lot longer than I plan to have my son live with me, I figured I'd best change it when I got married to Ross.

My son was devestated when he discovered that he wouldn't have the same last name as I did. So after a year or so, we had it legally changed, and we're all Rader now. No adoption, just a name change. He's still very happy about that.

Some friends of mine went through this too... His name was Cox, hers was Crane. She was the last of her line, being an only child of an only child. When she married, she kept her last name. When they had their son, her husband was so generous about the name thing that he suggested they give the boy her last name, to keep the line going.

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Alexa
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I like how they do it in Korea--no one changes their last name. However, I seperate from Korean tradition by thinking children should have the mother's last name--due of course to the fact that there is seldome any doubt who the mom is.

When was the last time you heard Operah have a show were they test the blood to find out who the mom is?

Logically it makes more sense for me to have people keep their own names and children take the name of the mom. Everything else..especially in custody battles, divorce, et cetera, gets too...draining.

[ April 01, 2004, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Alexa ]

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Strider
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OSC-fan, you're not helping my cause.

it's statements like that will keep my headstrong girlfriend from ever giving in! [Smile]

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katharina
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quote:
they tast the blood to find out who the mom is
Alexa, my first thought: "They TASTE the BLOOD? There's some mixed-up science!"
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romanylass
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When I married, I hyphenated my name, but not with my father's name. I took my grandmother's maiden name ( Carodiskey) and hyphenated it to hubby's (Wiebe). The kids have hubby'sast name and lots of people don't use the Carodiskey when addressing me. (I try to correct them)
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ludosti
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I took my husband's last name when we got married and kept my maiden name as my middle name. This way I feel my name is a reflection of my connection to both my families. [Smile]
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Leonide
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quote:
Why wouldn't you want to take your husband's last name?
Why wouldn't you want to take your wife's?

If the roles were reversed, and I had a particular attachment to my last name and to passing it on to my children, and Greg did not, then I would hope he would do the same as I am doing for him.

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Farmgirl
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OSC - fan

The name thing is just a cultural one in this culture! There is nothing biblical that says we must take our husband's last name in order to become "one flesh" with him or in order to honor him!

In fact, I believe this particular cultural tradition began many years after Christ's time.

Many other cultures do not have this tradition. It is not a religious tradition.

In my case, my husband was not dishonored by my choice to keep my maiden name -- he was in full agreement. His last name (Sims) belong to a his father, who was never involved in his life, and who used to beat up his mom. He himself wanted nothing to do with the name Sims. He thought it would be dishonoring to ME to give me the name that he had no honor for.

Farmgirl

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fugu13
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The reason the name comes from the father's is because it was a control system. There have been several cultures where names descend through the mother's side.

As we no longer have need of a control system, there's no particular reason the wife should have to take the husband's name.

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katharina
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Farmgirl - OSC-fan is trolling. *pat pat*
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Anna
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quote:
I believe everyone in the nuclear family needs to have the same last name. Which name you choose to take is up to you. I just think that names are powerful things, and it's important to be able to identify yourself as part of a family, and that's something best accomplished by sharing a common name.
Belle, I SO agree with that.
For the story, before I met Vinnie I was one to tell that I would never give up my name because it was mine bl**** h***, and I felt no need to take another one. But when I met him and we considerating having children, I though it was the best solution, to tell with words that we are part of the same family. Why the man's name ? Well, the woman gives her womb, the man gives his name, it sounds quite fair to me.
EDIT : What kat said.

[ April 01, 2004, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: Anna ]

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