Question: I was married before and have one son. My son has his father’s last name and I took back my maiden name. My son’s father hasn’t seen him since he was 3 (he is now 10). I’ve been trying to get my son’s name changed to my maiden name since his father has nothing to do with us. My ex husband does not want to sign the papers to change it, but I think I might eventually get to change it. My own father has been a father figure to my son and I want my son to have our last name. My fiance has an ex wife and she still keeps her married name.
She also had another child with another man and gave that child my fiance’s last name. The point is that I don’t want to change my name EVER again. I’m happy with mine and another woman is already using it anyways. My question is how will I address myself. It might sound silly…but I’m a teacher and was just wondering what I would have on my door. Would it be Ms. Funshine? or Mrs. Funshine…with my maiden name seems sort of strange ???
I think you’d have to have your husband’s permission to change his son’s name, even if he has not seen the child in a while. I’d contact an attorney to see about that so he can review your divorce degree and advise you before spinning your wheels.
There’s no legal reason you have to take your new husband’s name, your maiden name or even keep the name you’re using now. Most mothers, me included, want to keep their last name the same as their child’s for identity purposes. (I didn’t want to be Mrs. maiden name while my kids were johnny and susie married name) But, again, this is totally up to you. Choose the name you want to use (speak to your future husband about this since I think you should both be on board).
Whatever seems to make sense to you is what I’d recommend.
Yes, I know I will have to have my ex’s permission to get my son’s name changed. I believe I’ll be able to bribe him so to speak sometime in the near future. He signed the name change papers at one point, but refused to deliver them. My son and I had the same last name up until a year ago when I changed to my maiden (thinking my ex was going to go along with my son’s name change too) I want my son and myself to have the same last name . My future children will have my fiance’s name. I was a young mother and went through a lot raising my son alone. I wouldn’t want him to feel left out with everyone else having my fiance’s name…so Mom will keep the same name as his. Like I said before, another woman is already using it- I think it will be ok. It sounds like a big mess, I know…..Thanks for the tip.
Well, my mother in law was already using my name when I took it (heh).
But, if you and your son share a last name, he will be different from the other children in the family, including future children. Wonder how he, and the future child might feel about that. (Not that all decisions should be made based on what the child thinks). Seems to me that if you want him to feel like a member of the family (not left out) and your future child will have his father’s name then why not change your name to the new husband’s even if you also have to share it with an ex-wife?
I’m hoping our stepfamily counselors will have a good alternative answer for you.
Alyssa Johnson, The Smart Way to Re-Do Your “I Do”
I don’t believe there is a “right” or “wrong” answer to your question. It really has to do with what you think you’ll feel most comfortable with.
You make it sound as if you’re planning to have additional children in your new marriage. That’s going to cause last names to be different regardless of what you do.
I think the most important thing is that you remain very open to the children’s questions (because they will come up) as to why they all have different last names.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of with this. It’s part of your family’s heritage. Instead, it’s going to be important for you to become comfortable with it.
Changing Last Name After Second Wedding
Question: This will be my second marriage and my fiancé’s first. I have two children (15 and 12) and he has one child from a previous relationship (15). My children do not want me to take my fiancé’s name/give up my married name because it’s their last name. My fiancé doesn’t want me to keep my married name because it is my ex-husband’s last name. I suggested hyphenating it “my kids/ex last name-my new last name but neither party feels that is acceptable. Help?
This may sound harsh but this isn’t a decision for your children to make. Of course, you can try to do things that will make everyone happy but, in the end, it should be your and your husband’s decision (and will be your name). Hyphenation is a good compromise.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now
I couldn’t agree more.
Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor and Coach, Co-Founder and Director of the Step and Blended Family Institute
I agree with the advice given as well. You could have also returned to your maiden name if you had chosen. Your name is a personal matter and you should ask yourself, what do I want to do? There are many other ways you can reassure your kids that you are going to be there for them despite a name change. If and when you know what you want, then hopefully your new partner can accept and understand that as well. Bear in mind also, that to listen only to what other people want in a situation like this, is a recipe for resentment down the road. Best of Luck!
Alyssa Johnson, The Smart Way to Re-Do Your “I Do”
I too agree with the previous advice. I think hyphenation is perfectly acceptable if that’s what you’re comfortable with. I’ve had several female clients choose to do this so there isn’t confusion at their kids’ schools with the last names being different.
Your children need to understand that you changing your name doesn’t suddenly make you less of their mother.
At the same time, your fiance needs to understand that you keeping the same last name as your children won’t make you less of his wife. The emphasis on this decision needs to be that you’re choosing to do it to have the same last name as your children NOT your ex-spouse.
Just be sure you choose what YOU are comfortable with because you are the one who will be writing it, etc. I agree whole heartedly with the previous comment that changing it to make others happy will undoubtedly lead to resentment.