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Bridal Club Magazine

Common Questions Concerning Using Your New Married Name

I'm planning to get married. Do I have to take my husbands surname or can I keep my own? While it has been customary to take your husband's name after marriage in New Zealand, it is entirely acceptable to keep your own. Your husband-to-be may totally dislike his own name and want to take yours, or if you both want to; make up a completely different one! None of these changes however, affects your registered birth name.

What about hyphenated names or abbreviated versions of our names?

Applicable to the above. It's always quite neat to hear a double-barrelled name in social circles. However, remember to give consideration to your future children should you plan to have them. A name that sounds great to you both now, could be the source of ridicule from other children should it be too difficult. You can also try a combination of your surnames for example: Sharon Camden and Scott Christoff could become Mr and Mrs Chrisden - you get the picture.

What are the legal requirements concerning name changing when getting married? Traditionally when a woman marries, she only needs to start using her husbands surname. It pays to give careful consideration and time to deciding on a name that you will both feel comfortable with - before you go changing any records. Any change other than your husband's name after marriage will need an official order.

What if I decide to use my husbands surname?

Simply start using his name as your own. You can use your marriage certificate to have the necessary documentation changed to your new name. Or you may still use your maiden name as your legal name while being informally called by your husband's name. It will pay to tell those close to you what you are doing and what name you wish to be known as.

How do I begin to start letting people know my/our new name?

As soon as possible after the wedding, make a list of the people and institutions that you and your husband deal with. Some may require more proof of documentation than others in order to change their records - email, phone call or even a personal appointment with hard copies of proof. If you start by getting your driver's license or passport done first using a certified copy of your marriage certificate (usually sent out to you within a few weeks of your wedding day) - the others will be simple using these new forms of identification.

Here are the people and institutions to notify of your name change:

  • Friends and family
  • Employers
  • Schools
  • Lawyers
  • Post office (a copy of this is also automatically sent to the electoral roll)
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Doctor/hospital records
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Creditors and debtors
  • Telephone, power and companies
  • IRD
  • Insurance agencies
  • Passport office
  • WINZ
  • Any clubs or other social organisations you belong to

An important note if you have a will or estate planning document. Although your beneficiaries won't lose their inheritances, it is best to avoid confusion and replace the document with a new one bearing your legal name.

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