Baby Names

Let's talk about last names...

So I married into a hyphenated last name (my husbands since he was like 6, not ours combined). So what is the legal rule on naming your child? Even though it's our name and we're proud, both of us know that it's a real big pain in the bum to have a hyphenated last name that's like 15 letters long. We were thinking of 3 options (and for this example, we'll pretend that my last name if Smitty-Jones):

First name, middle name, Smitty-Jones

First name, middle name, Smitty

First name, Jones (as middle name), Smitty

Can you legally give your child a different last name than you have? If so, what are your thoughts on the above?

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Re: Let's talk about last names...

  • I personally would want my children to have the same last name as me so that you don't run into unnecessary issues when say, leaving the country, having a medical emergency, etc., And because I like the idea of the whole family being united with one name.

    So either, you like your last name (which it sounds like you do), so you deal with the length of it and give it to your child.

    Or if I were in your shoes and didn't like the name, I would have had DH change it when we got married so that we were just "Jones."  Who knows what the legal process would be to do that now.

    Just my 2 cents. You have to do what feels right for you. 

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  • I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.
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  • I think I would feel weird growing up not having the same last name as either of my parents. Give LO your last name, regardless that it's lengthy and hyphenated.

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  • sid464sid464
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
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    This is how I would feel too.

     

    ETA: Oops. Meant to quote this:

     I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.

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  • image henderson1026:
    I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.

    This is what I think too... 


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  • My legal last name will not be the same as my child's.  I did not change my name upon marriage. 

    It's one thing to feel strongly that you all should have the same last name and quite another legally when referring to "hassles."  Even legal parents with the same last name often need a note from the other parent to cross borders so having the same last name saves you nothing.  In this day and age, it's quite common for parents to not always share last names with the children and it's okay.  Teachers get it.  Doctors get it.  Don't overthink it.

    That said, since you both have this hyphenated last name,  I'd give it to my child as well.  No sense just changing his.  

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  • DH and I both hyphenated but our hypothetical future children are going to take my maiden name.

    DH and I wanted the same last name and we wanted to share a family name and for any kids to have my last name so that's how it is going to work out. 

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  • image Joy2611:

    My legal last name will not be the same as my child's.  I did not change my name upon marriage. 

    It's one thing to feel strongly that you all should have the same last name and quite another legally when referring to "hassles."  Even legal parents with the same last name often need a note from the other parent to cross borders so having the same last name saves you nothing.  In this day and age, it's quite common for parents to not always share last names with the children and it's okay.  Teachers get it.  Doctors get it.  Don't overthink it. 

    Same here. And I travel internationally with my children all the time since they were infants, it's never a problem.  

  • image jallascalla:
    image Joy2611:

    My legal last name will not be the same as my child's.  I did not change my name upon marriage. 

    It's one thing to feel strongly that you all should have the same last name and quite another legally when referring to "hassles."  Even legal parents with the same last name often need a note from the other parent to cross borders so having the same last name saves you nothing.  In this day and age, it's quite common for parents to not always share last names with the children and it's okay.  Teachers get it.  Doctors get it.  Don't overthink it. 

    Same here. And I travel internationally with my children all the time since they were infants, it's never a problem.  

    Yup - I think it's rarely an issue.

    I have read that border controls can legally ask for birth certificates and/or notes from the other parent when traveling with young children.  Sometimes parents kidnap their kids, Madeleine McCann situations, etc...  I've never seen it happen and would like to look into it further to see if this is really true, but I wanted to throw it out there because I have heard rumblings about it. 

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  • My understanding is, if you live in the United States, you choose first, middle and last name when you fill out the birth certificate. It's tradition for people to use their last name but you are truly inventing a name from scratch and may choose ANY name first middle or last. If you wanted to name your child "Kermit The Frog" you could.

    Some rules vary by state, if you are unsure, you can check with the health department or dept of vital statistics; but I don't think you would have any legal problems giving your child a last name different from your own.
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  • I also married a guy with two last names. We are planning on naming the child with both last names, but using one for school so it's not so hard. Like my hubby used his second last name while in school, but in the army they made him use his first last name. So I'm thinking we will just do the same for lo.
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  • image henderson1026:
    I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.

    This. I'd just keep the hyphenated LN.

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  • I would never give my child a hyphenated last name. Can you just give them the last part of it?
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  • My mom re-married when I was really young, so I grew up with a different last name than others in our house and it was nbd to me. I would probably shorten my own though, since hyphenated names are kind of a pain imo.
  • In your case I would just give the kid your same last name, hyphenated and all.

    legally you can chose whatever last name you want.

    I kept my madien name when I got married and DH kept his and our kids have our last names hyphenated. Legally they have a hyphenated name but informally they go by just the first part (my last name, only because its a better name). I fully expect the kids to drop one or both names when married. This baby is a boy, and if he marries a traditional girl I expect that they'll do whatever suits them but I would assume they would chose one of the two and not both hyphenate. My hope though is that all of the kids will keep one part of their current hyphen and hyphenate their name with their spouses- I hate the tradition of automatically taking the male spouses last name.

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  • image BlueDot818:

    image henderson1026:
    I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.

    This is what I think too... 

    I agree with this.

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  • shannmshannm
    Ancient Membership 5000 Comments 250 Answers 250 Love Its
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    I have a male friend who has a hypenated name that he shares with his parents.  I don't think he suffers from it and I am sure that he would use it for his children if his future wife didn't care.  

    So I would say, if you plan to keep your name hyphenated, then give it to the baby as well.  If you really think it is a burden, then I would consider shortening everyone's name.  While I don't think that everyone needs to have the same name, I do think it makes sense to give the child the last name of at least someone in the family.  But that is just my preference.  Legally, I don't think it matters.

    I do not share a last name with my DH or my children it is not a big deal to me. 


  • Bexx24Bexx24
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments 5 Love Its
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    Just go with the hyphenated last name. If it's not ruining your life it won't ruin your children either.
  • I've had several patients come in where the mother has a hyphenated name and the children have one of those names or some completely different last name (I suppose to match their biological father's last name).  In all honesty, the different last names have never caused a problem or made me think differently  It is more of a problem when the parents can't remember their child's date of birth.

    I'd see no problem with you both keeping the hyphenated name and then naming your child with just one of those names (without using the middle name slot for the second name).

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  • Thank you for all your responses! This will be a topic for discussion for DH and I over the next 9 months but it's interesting to read all the different responses.

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  • My h has a hyphenated name. He too got his at a young age. When we married I didn't take the hyphen, just the first last name. A also has just the first part of the hyphen. Legally, you can give your baby any name you choose, last name included.
  • image henderson1026:
    I would say that no matter what name you choose, everyone in the family has it.  So either give the kid your full last name or both you and DH should shorten it to match.

    This. 

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