Considering changing MY name - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 06-29-2010, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are not married.
We have a child together - DP's last name
I own my own business.

I've been considering changing my last name. Just for scuzz, just to do it. Not legally, but on my business cards, just in LIFE.

I see ramifications because who you THOUGHT was me is different on an HR report. Still, if I 1099 you, it'd be my company name, not my personal name. Checks, we have a joint checking together, so that'd be no issue. Even on my personal accounts, they'd take $$ as a deposit.

My only stupid reasoning... I like DP's name. It's my son's name. We are the X family... why don't I call myself that? We are committed. We are together, and even if we ended up not being in the long run... it's still not a legal change. It's just on the face, and as such, just as easy to undo as to do.

Has anyone considered this? Done it? What were the issues you came across?

woohoo I'm a mommy! Lil man born 9-12-09
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#2 of 29 Old 06-29-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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How hard would it be to make it a legal change?

Artist, photographer, stay-at-home-mom and Marine wife. Mom to 4; a boy and three little girls.
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#3 of 29 Old 06-29-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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I don't think there's any major "right" or "wrong" here. It's a name. You can rename yourself Wonder Woman, if you want to. You can even do that legally.

But, of course, the traditions about how we name ourselves are symbolic. By taking your BF's name, you'd be symbolizing that the two of you have pledged to stay together for life - and have made a commitment to each other that would be complex and difficult to terminate. But in reality, you two are only as "committed" as ANY two people who enjoy each other's company. Both of you are committed to parenting your child for life. But - for whatever reason - you have chosen to leave yourselves open to end your relationship with each other without the full ramifications of divorce.

I'm sure you love each other and hope to be together forever. But you're not "committed". You are together now because you want to be and if, at some point in the future, you no longer want to, then you won't be together. "Commitment" - in the sense that word is used in a marriage - means even if you go through a period where you'd rather not be together there are clear legal, social and possibly religious penalties for failing to maintain your commitment, which are supposed to serve as considerable disincentives for splitting up.

OBVIOUSLY, that isn't effective in 50% of marriages! But you and your BF have consciously chosen not to give yourselves the same disincentives to breaking up that married people do. Yet taking his name would symbolize that you have.

I wouldn't do it (and didn't do it, when I was still with the father of my older kids, who, like your son, have their dad's last name even though he and I were never married). The symbolic discord would irritate me. I would also hate explaining to people why I took my BF's name but didn't marry him. More importantly, I would spend time asking myself WHY he and I seemed to love each other enough to act like a family, but one or both of us was unwilling to actually commit to legally being one.

So those are my thoughts on the subject, but do what strikes you as right. Anybody who judges or harasses you about something so small and personal doesn't have enough to do with their time!

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#4 of 29 Old 07-12-2010, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jeanine, you bring up excellent points. And they're all about marriage and why we're not married, and how people would perceive the name change, yet not married. It would leave a lot to discussion in the long run... why did I do this without marrying him.

But then, why do I call him my "husband", yet am not legally married to him.

I think that is a personality thing. I've met many who've had BF's for 20 years and they remain "boyfriends". Yet something in my nature, be it to appease my nosy neighbors or co-workers, I call him my husband. I will not marry him. He will not marry me. We both have stances on marriage that both come from a "marriage is obsolete" ideal, and more important, what our parents have gone through with multiple marriages. And we are not on solid ground, oh no... but still, I call him my husband (to outsiders).

His family is the "Martin" family. He has step-siblings who've taken the name (not legally adopted, but legally changed their name). And I'd like, bourgeois as it might seem, to have a "Martin Family" welcome sign on our door. I don't know that we have to be married to have that. I already feel, just a few years into this relationship, and this family... that I'd be OK taking on the name, albeit superficially.

Everything I write feels naive. But so much of that is understanding that even if we were to separate, which isn't an impossibility - we are shaky at best - it's still just on business paper. Something I'd be trying to do for my son. To encourage a 'family' name with my son.

i dunno. maybe someone needs to shake me into reality. Or... maybe, what I perceive as "marriage" and the importance of taking someone's name could be different, but maybe more than just the marriage piece of paper. i'm still working it out. I haven't changed anything, yet.

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#5 of 29 Old 07-14-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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maybe check out the laws. i know here in canada.. well at least bc, you can call yourself anything you want to. on your cheques etcm where ever, sighing legal documents... as long as you are not trying to hide from who you are "legally" then it's all good.
i too am considering changing my name 'legally' to dp's. i have many reasons. wehavenochildren in common and have no plans to do so either. both of us see it as a commitment change and rather permanent 'bond' partly we think that his family and especially his children will see us as a 'real family' his exw has convinced the children that we are not a real family because we do no plan to marry etc. i dont see it as succumbing to her ideals etc, it came up after we talked to the kids about me changing my name. i just like his last name and somehow it does make us feel more committed on some deeper level . lol, i dont even know if i am making sense here.
i guess i just wanted to say i understand whrere you are coming from.
i look forward to reading the answers,
vs
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#6 of 29 Old 07-14-2010, 03:59 AM
 
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I am married, I took my husband's name so that our future (and now present) children would have a family with a 'family name.' And I don't like it. I wish I still had my maiden name, same as my sisters have.

But whatever, they are all just arbirtary signs that indicate, "Hey YOU." I try to be non-attached to the name thing because it's not me, it's not who I am.

But people make up pseudonyms and even take them as legal names all the time. Whatever floats your boat. If you and your partner break up, will you renounce the family name and smash the welcome sign on the door into tiny bits?

And look, marriage is primarily an economic, householding, and child-rearing arrangement, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it. The Disney princess lovehearts and stars and princes stuff is a lot of garbage.

If you do something for your son, don't do it for superficial reasons either. Make sure they go deep and true where your kid is concerned. Even if your partner relationship is committed, but shaky, your relationship with your son had better not be the latter.

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#7 of 29 Old 07-14-2010, 04:13 AM
 
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I did it. And we didn't have any children together. Of course... we decided to go down the marriage path and are expecting. But I just had his last name for a while. Go to the courthouse, fill the paperwork out, pay your fee, see the judge on the spot and walk out a different woman.

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#8 of 29 Old 07-15-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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A slightly different situation (married) but I still use the X's name and probably will for a very long time/forever. Our child together has that name, but my older ones don't -- so that's not why. I like it because it's very common, whereas my other name isn't. It's also easy to pronounce, and doesn't have to be spelled out every time.

This X is my least favorite person in the world, and I've had a few break-ups... my second least favorite person is my father. Doesn't much matter to me which of their names I use, so I go with the easy one.

~~Alley~~
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#9 of 29 Old 07-15-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Just wanted to add that although I've changed my name in a previous marriage, I went back to my original name after divorce. My first husband's name didn't suit me very well. But this time I'm sticking with the name just because I like it more.

~~Alley~~
single mom to dd, ds1 & ds2
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#10 of 29 Old 07-16-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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I have considered this-dp and I are not married either, and all the kids have his name (dsd, dd, and ds). However, we will probably get married someday, so I will more than likely wait until then. I don't really mind having a differnt name, so I wouldn't change it legally before we are married. I do sometimes go by/answer to Mrs Dp'slastname Honestly, I would be fine keeping my name even after we were married, but I was on the fence and it is improtant to dp that I change it, so be it. I think you should try going by his last name for a while before making it official, just to see if you change your mind about it. These days, I don't think that families with multiple last names really cause much notice, KWIM?

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#11 of 29 Old 07-16-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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I dunno.... seems to me that sharing the same name is as antiquated an ideal as getting married. If you don't intend to marry, why pretend that you are? Because that is how it comes across.

Nothing wrong with maintaining your relationship as it is, but why pretend it's something it not only isn't, but something you don't agree with?
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#12 of 29 Old 07-21-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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i never thought about it coming across as 'pretending' to be married. i am going to have to think about that for a bit and do some self searching and inner investigation to what has made me feel that i would like to change my name to his in the first place before i make another comment about it here.

that was a really great, thought inspiring comment mtiger, thanks,

viv
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#13 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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If I could have had 100% of my druthers, my dh and I would have selected our own family name and BOTH changed it upon marriage. I love having a family name that we share with each other and our kids. I love it so much that I cannot even be sorry I took his name. But the implication - that I left my birth family and joined his family - is frankly offensive. We are not nomads in the desert. I did not move into his mom's tent and contribute my dowry of goats to his dad's flock. Seriously. Ick.

If (god forbid) I ever find myself shopping for another husband, then that guy is going to have to deal with the fact that I won't be changing my name so that it not the same as my children's name. Either he adopts them and we all change, or he doesn't and he will have to settle for giving his surname to any children we are blessed to conceive together.
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#14 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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If I could have had 100% of my druthers, my dh and I would have selected our own family name and BOTH changed it upon marriage. I love having a family name that we share with each other and our kids. I love it so much that I cannot even be sorry I took his name. But the implication - that I left my birth family and joined his family - is frankly offensive.
Me too. Or I'd be okay with him taking my last name too...

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#15 of 29 Old 07-22-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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My DP, his DD, our DS and my DP's ex all share the same last name. I cannot see myself changing mine.

1) I would feel like I'm another one on the list (with his ex)
2) I would feel less like "me". I'm from another country and I'm proud of it.
3) I got married when I was very young (no kids) and did change my name and felt that a big part of me died. (So I changed it back after divorce)

I have to say, it makes me feel like an outsider when the kids or my ex talk about themselves as the "Whatevers" (family name) knowing that my DP's ex has their last name. It mainly bothers me because of what my DSD might think.

BUT, when my son was born I made sure I gave him my last name as his middle name and my DP's as his last. I have both my mom and dad's last name and I LOVE THAT. I know in the States it's difficult to have 2 last names (from experience) so that was my way of giving my son both our last names.
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#16 of 29 Old 07-25-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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Names are personal. Why does it matter the reasoning behind changing the name? If you want to be called by that name, then do it. You have every right to make that very personal decision.

Now, if you want my opinion, that is something else altogether.

I hyphenated my name. It is now "my maiden name-his last name." I did this because my DD (from a previous relationship, not marriage) has my maiden name hyphenated with her father's last name as her last name.

So, when we were having DS, I wanted to bridge the entire family. Our last names are like this:

DH - "his last name"
DS - "his last name"
Me - "my maiden name-his last name"
DD - "my maiden name-her bio-dad's last name"

When DD turns 18, she is talking about changing her name to "his last name" (her bio-dad is still marginally in the picture and would never allow her to do it now). She feels like my DH is her "real" dad and wants to have his name. Going back to what I said at first, it's her right to make that choice if she wants to. After all, it's how she identifies herself.

As for me, I think I will keep the hyphenated name because I don't want to give up my maiden name entirely. It was my name for 30 years before I married. I don't feel I need to give that up because I decided to partner for life. As for DH, he says he feels honored that I want to use his name at all.
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#17 of 29 Old 07-27-2010, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As for DH, he says he feels honored that I want to use his name at all.
Honestly, DP is weirded out by the whole conversation. He thinks it's odd that I'd even consider taking his name... even IF we were to marry (which we won't). So, I suppose that's a conundrum in itself, and possibly the answer to my question.

I love my family. Names are personal! Which is why I would never change it legally. Even if we were to marry, which we won't.

But yet... I feel the interest in doing it superficially. Enyhoo... it's been a fun month of conversation. I'm still not sure what I'm looking for - a definition of "family" for my son (which is bogus, since he has family everywhere of All names and I love that!), or something for me (which maybe I'm not so solid on my soap-box of non-marriage as I'd thought?). I'm not sure. But I appreciate the conversation.

Thank you for sharing your stories.

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#18 of 29 Old 07-27-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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Add me to the non-marriage soapbox I was married for almost ten years (kept my last name). While I definitely loved him for at least a majority of that time - and had a child I adore - I do think the very fact of marriage made it harder to leave a relationship that in the end was not right for me. I think without that legal and cultural institution I would have felt capable of leaving sooner. Not to mention that the entire process of divorce (I'm in NY where we don't have no fault divorce) was an expensive pain in the ass that allowed the state to ask a bunch of questions about things that my ex and I were perfectly capable of figuring out ourselves.

ANYWAYS, I rather like that our family is a voluntary association of individuals who come together out of love and respect. (Obviously it's not voluntary for the kids but there's an equality we allow them in the family that matters to me a lot). But for us, we all have different names except for my partner and our son together. However, we do refer to ourselves jokingly and lovingly as the RAP family, which is an acronym of all our last names (and coincidentally all our middle ones). My daughter loves it and I do think it give a family identity without taking away her own identity and the family she is with her dad as well.

OP - it sounds a little like your succumbing to societal pressure, which is understandable. But I would just use it as an opportunity to re-examine your feelings about this issue.
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#19 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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Honestly, DP is weirded out by the whole conversation. He thinks it's odd that I'd even consider taking his name... even IF we were to marry (which we won't). So, I suppose that's a conundrum in itself, and possibly the answer to my question.

I love my family. Names are personal! Which is why I would never change it legally. Even if we were to marry, which we won't.

But yet... I feel the interest in doing it superficially. Enyhoo... it's been a fun month of conversation. I'm still not sure what I'm looking for - a definition of "family" for my son (which is bogus, since he has family everywhere of All names and I love that!), or something for me (which maybe I'm not so solid on my soap-box of non-marriage as I'd thought?).
I'm so confused by this. Ole people would call this "playin house". You don't want to be legally married but you call him your husband. You don't want to legally change your name just call yourself his name? If you are so anti marriage then why do you pretend that you are? Do you think that it'll be an easier fit for your family into society's box of what is a family? I've been married for ten years with my name changed on my license but not my ss card out of laziness honestly.
I may be biased on this one though because this a personal pet peev of mine. I feel like I took the risk of commitment and all the legal and emotional pain in the butts that come with getting out of it should it not work so that I can call my dh my husband and not my boyfriend and more importantly so I could indeed be his WIFE which with step daughters was important to me and maybe where this pet peeve came from. I didn't want to be "the girlfriend" for all eternity or as long as the relationship lasted ( only 50% make it to where I'm at!)

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#20 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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I think if you want to have the name, then do it. Who cares what other people think. Do what feels right for YOU and YOUR family.

It does not matter if it feels wrong to other people. All that matters is what feels right to you and your SO.
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#21 of 29 Old 08-06-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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I'm so confused by this. Ole people would call this "playin house". You don't want to be legally married but you call him your husband. You don't want to legally change your name just call yourself his name? If you are so anti marriage then why do you pretend that you are? Do you think that it'll be an easier fit for your family into society's box of what is a family?.... I may be biased on this one though because this a personal pet peev of mine.
I have the same opinions.

I'm not going to pretend to understand everyone, that may drive me insane! But if you want to be seen as a traditional family unit, society has ways of letting others know of our commitments to another!

I feel like when people call each other "husband" and "wife" when they aren't married or play house as htcmommy put it, I think it degrades the level of commitment married couples have made to each other.

There is nothing wrong with having a partner, or the father of your children, or a boyfriend. If that is what you are, then don't hide it!

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#22 of 29 Old 08-07-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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my grandma spent 40+ years with her boyfriend (until he died) he refused to marry her but she took his name anyway.

i lgally changed my name 3 years ago to something i really liked so when i remarried i decided to keep it.

my sister's dh took her name

lots of different choices, do whats best for you
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#23 of 29 Old 08-07-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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....

I feel like when people call each other "husband" and "wife" when they aren't married or play house as htcmommy put it, I think it degrades the level of commitment married couples have made to each other.
I could not disagree more! This is the same argument people use against same-sex marriage.

How could somebody else's love affect your marriage commitment in ANY way, shape or form?
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#24 of 29 Old 08-07-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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I could not disagree more! This is the same argument people use against same-sex marriage.

How could somebody else's love affect your marriage commitment in ANY way, shape or form?
I so am not wanting to open a same sex marriage debate as most people have very strong views on this, but isn't that why people are pushing for the right to have same sex marriage legalized? So that they can in fact be married and not just pretend to be? I think you're contridicting yourself with this statement.
It seems that op has pretty strong convictions against the institution of marriage so I am confused as to why she would want people to percieve she is married. Its her name, viewpoint, family, and decisions either way and I'm sure her reasons are valid for her.

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#25 of 29 Old 08-07-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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We are a legally married same sex couple with a marriage that is not legally recognized. Right now, we both have our birth (maiden?) names and our son is hyphenated with both of our names. We now introduce ourselves socially as "my last name-DW's last name" but professionally, I suspect we will remain known by our birth names. If we lived in a state where second parent adoption was legal (we don't ) then we would change our names as part of the adoption process.

I think if you want to introduce yourself socially as "martin" there is no reason not to. I don't know that *I* would bother to change it legally--since, after all, I haven't bothered to deal with yet, and we've been married for 5 years.
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#26 of 29 Old 08-11-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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DH - "his last name"
DS - "his last name"
Me - "my maiden name-his last name"
DD - "my maiden name-her bio-dad's last name"

When DD turns 18, she is talking about changing her name to "his last name" (her bio-dad is still marginally in the picture and would never allow her to do it now). She feels like my DH is her "real" dad and wants to have his name. Going back to what I said at first, it's her right to make that choice if she wants to. After all, it's how she identifies herself.
I was in a very similar situation, except I didn't hyphenate my own name. So 2 of my kids had DP's last name, and one had my last name and my ex's last name hyphenated. It was very confusing.
For personal safety reasons, I had to change my own last name. I decided to change it to something that was none of the above (not to my partner's name), and selected a name on my own. This left my one dd without my last name and without her acting dad's last name, but with two unrelated names. Her father has not been involved, though he still retained legal right to notification (here all parents do as long as they are not explicitly denied access, even if they don't have custody). She decided she wanted her name changed to the same as her silbings and as the man she calls "Dad' and who acts, for all intents and purposes, as her father. And so, we changed it when she was 8. Now I have my own name, and my kids and parnter all share the same last name. I prefer it this way because it's how we would have done it from the outset. I didn't want to take my parnter's name just because it's his name. If I hadn't had to change my name for safety reasons, I wouldn't have taken my partner's name, so why take it just because I have to change my name?

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#27 of 29 Old 08-11-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
But in reality, you two are only as "committed" as ANY two people who enjoy each other's company. Both of you are committed to parenting your child for life. But - for whatever reason - you have chosen to leave yourselves open to end your relationship with each other without the full ramifications of divorce.

I'm sure you love each other and hope to be together forever. But you're not "committed". You are together now because you want to be and if, at some point in the future, you no longer want to, then you won't be together. "Commitment" - in the sense that word is used in a marriage - means even if you go through a period where you'd rather not be together there are clear legal, social and possibly religious penalties for failing to maintain your commitment, which are supposed to serve as considerable disincentives for splitting up.

OBVIOUSLY, that isn't effective in 50% of marriages! But you and your BF have consciously chosen not to give yourselves the same disincentives to breaking up that married people do. Yet taking his name would symbolize that you have.
You might be interested to know that where I live, the disincentives to breaking up are identical between my non-married relationship and any married relationship. This applies legally and socially. It includes division of assets, parenting issues, legal issues, social issues. There is no difference. Except the divorce filing fee is saved .

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#28 of 29 Old 08-11-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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I so am not wanting to open a same sex marriage debate as most people have very strong views on this, but isn't that why people are pushing for the right to have same sex marriage legalized? So that they can in fact be married and not just pretend to be? I think you're contradicting yourself with this statement.
It seems that op has pretty strong convictions against the institution of marriage so I am confused as to why she would want people to percieve she is married. Its her name, viewpoint, family, and decisions either way and I'm sure her reasons are valid for her.
Exactly, bolded is mine, and that's what it boils down to, but its the internet and she asked opinions

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#29 of 29 Old 08-11-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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Go to the courthouse, fill the paperwork out, pay your fee, see the judge on the spot and walk out a different woman.
I did this. I didn't change my name to someone's name that I was dating, but I chose a last name to make my own. I didn't want to go by my maiden name, as I have no respect for my father or his family. I'm married now (and I took my husband's name), but I will never regret changing my name to something I could respect during the years I was single.

I know your reasoning for a name change would be completely different. But legally changing one's name is a relatively easy thing to do.

Good luck.
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