If you and your partner have different last names... — The Bump
March 2015 Moms

If you and your partner have different last names...

What are you doing or what did you do for LO's last name? We were planning on giving our daughter my last name as a middle name, but I'm having second thoughts and we are considering hyphenating her last name. Just curious what M15 ladies have to say about this.

Also, I can handle some bureaucracy and don't worry much about having to explain that she has my husband's last name, but I am slightly worried that if my last name isn't represented in her last name, it could cause some problems with medical emergencies or travel.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Re: If you and your partner have different last names...

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  • My fiancé and I aren't married yet but hoping to get married ar the courthouse before she arrives. If for any reason we don't make it before she arrives then she will get his last name. I'm not too worried about it because mine will change to the same not to long after anyway.
    peeppeeppeepers23462[Deleted User]
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  • We have different last names and both DD and LO will:have that name. It just wasn't important to me but did seem important to my husband.
    As for medical-I never really considered that. I feel like with all the ways security in schools and so forth are tightening up, the same last name doesn't mean too too much.

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  • DH and I have been married for 10 years, and I still have my maiden name. I told him I'd consider changing it for our 20 year anniversary :) DD has his last name, and this LO will as well. I've never had any issues with it, and nobody has ever questioned it.
  • My SO and I are not married, but the baby will have his last name. This was really important to him and I had no problem with it. I think these days it is fairly common for parents to have a different last name from their child whether it be the mother or father and there are plenty of ways to verify who you are. I would just do whatever you are comfortable with!
    peeppeeppeepigl08[Deleted User][Deleted User]
  • I don't think you will have any problems. My SS has my husbands (and now my) last name. His mother has a different last name. His sister also has a different last name (different father)

    Also, before my H and I were even married I never had any issues. I told them I was step mom and they never questioned me or my different last name.


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  • We hyphenated when we married so our daughter has the hyphenated last name. My parents never changed their last names and just made a new one up for me and my sister, though (they mushed the first and last syllables of theirs together). It wasn't confusing for anyone once we explained it.
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  • My SO and I are engaged but not married yet, and LO will get his last name. 

    I second PPs in that it hasn't really been a problem that I've seen. My mother always had a different last name than I did, since she re-married when I was 7. So my sister and I have also always had different last names. Sometimes people got confused in every day occurrences, but it was never an issue for medical or travel. =)

  • My fiancée and I are not married and were not even engaged when we had our daughter, she has his last name. I've never run into any problems because of it.
  • H and I got married in November. I have yet to change my last name (I will one of these days). We had a brief discussion when we found out we were pregnant and I never thought twice about giving the baby his last name.

  • We are not married. Our first has his last name and this little peanut will too. At first I thought it would bother me, but it hasn't really affected anything at all. The plan is to get married sometime down the road (we are in no hurry) so it wasn't much of an issue for us to determine who's last name they would get. I figure why have to change theirs later.
  • kcbizme said:
    H and I got married in November. I have yet to change my last name (I will one of these days). We had a brief discussion when we found out we were pregnant and I never thought twice about giving the baby his last name.
    Piggybacking on this to answer your original question:
    My mom and I always had a different last name (she remarried) and as far as I know, we never had any issues with the difference. I don't forsee that happening here either.

  • It's not an issue for me since I took DH's last name when we got married.

    One of my friends had two kiddos with her boyfriend and gave them his last name. He turned out to be a horribly abusive man, but I don't think she could change their names without his permission and he'd never give her that. Her last kid has her husband's last name, which she took when they got married.

    Another friend of mine kept her maiden name, and her daughters last name is a hyphenate.

    In this day and age I don't think there's a right or wrong way of doing it.
  • SO and I aren't married and LO will have his last name. It was important to him. I could care less about my last name, so there really was no discussion.

    I grew up in a blended family. Some of us has had one last name, some of us had another. We never had any issues with schools, doctors, etc. Especially in a smaller town, folks know who you belong to :)
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  • From the other side of it, my mom kept her maiden name when she married my dad. I got my mom's last name as my middle name. We did have minimal issues when I was younger, just dumb stuff like the school or my friends not knowing how to address my mom. My mom's favorite was always when people would address my dad as Mr. HerLastName. Like PPs said, I think it's way more common now and not at all a big deal to have different names.

    I had a hard time when I got married because I kind of wanted to keep both names. I ended up keeping my mom's name and taking DH's as my last. As far as I know, I'm the only one of my generation with my mom's name, so it meant a lot to me to keep it.
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  • I think it depends on the situation. When my mother got pregnant with me unexpectedly I was given her last name because they were not in a situation where marriage was heading there way soon. If she had then married my father we would have taken his last name. 

    I have friends who gave their child their boyfriends last name when they got pregnant years ago and regret it and some who dont. Its situation dependant 
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  • It won't cause issues with travelling. You are on the birth certificate. I travelled by plane, domestically, with DD#1 over the summer. No questions asked. I decided not to hyphenate because maybe one day we will get married. But I'm in no rush to marry since I was married before.

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  • I have my husband's last name. Growing up though my last name was hyphenated, and I hated it. I think it causes confusion, and is too long to fit on forms and standardized testing bubbles.

    I would reccomend giving your last name as the middle name.

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    peeppeeppeep[Deleted User]
  • Our baby will have my hubby's last name. I haven't changed my last name, and have been married for 5 years. perhaps I will change my name after the baby is born.
  • I also grew up with a hyphenated last name and always hated it. To this day, it's hard to remember which name to use in which setting. That said, I didn't change my name when I got married because I already used my name professionally. My kids will have H ' s last name because it's important to him. I use his last name socially, just not officially or at work.

    That said, I would be hesitant to give my child his/her father's name is we weren't married. It would be easier to change it later if you got married, than change it back if you broke up and had an antagonistic relationship.

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  • My DH and I have been married for a year and a half, I haven't changed my name and have no plans to do so (although never say never). The baby will have 4 names (first middle 2nd middle and last) which is very common in Ireland where DH is from. My last name will be her second middle name & we will do this for all future LO's.

    I have told my H if he will take my last name I'll take his too (not hyphenated for him, just another middle name) that I will hyphenate. I don't really care what other people choose to do but I've always felt strongly that I want to keep my name and would be happy to add my husbands name if he was willing to do the same. So if we ever decide to do that the kids will already have both. :)
  • drudolph11drudolph11 member
    edited January 2015

    My SO and I are not married and truthfully do not plan on getting married anywhere in the near future because of personal choice. I always knew from the beginning that she would get his last name and have been totally 100% fine with it as I really don't even care. TBH I hate my last name *cue user name* and that is a big reason why I don't care. If we were having a boy then my feelings may be different about it but my decision would still be the same because I know how important it would be for him. My family has gotten over the initial shock of the situation but have been pushing for a hyphenated last name, again I didn't really care and agreed to talk to him about it and if he was ok with it then that is what we would do but he didn't want that and so therefore my last name will in no way be in her name which is am totally fine with. Plus the fact that despite the fact that we are not planning on getting married at this point in time it doesn't mean we never will. I never really thought about the situation causing any issues as we will have the birth certificate which will obviously prove me as being the mother.

    Eta: I thought that I would add something after reading other responses. I agree that it is situation dependent as well. I mean I know a few girls who have had their kids last names changed because they broke up with their baby daddy and he decided to not be in the childs life anymore. Actually my SOs mom did this. He was given his dads last name at birth and then they changed it while he was still young which has never been an issue with him because he was so young he doesn't even remember having the original last name. In my situation, I am not naïve t think that we could never ever break up just because we have a kid but for me I know that even if that situation occurs he would still be in her life 100% do doubt about it. If I was not sure then I might push to give her my last name. 

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  • When H and I got married I didn't change my last name (personal choice). Then when we had my DS I decided to incorporate my husbands name into mine (not hyphenated just his name is after my middle name). I still am referred to by my maiden name, however when we get cards and some mail it will say "the (husbands last name) family", which doesn't bother me. My kids have his last name and if they choose to take mine when they're older I'm totally okay with it. Oh ps I really dislike my H's last name lol (he does too)

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  • Baby will have my boyfriends last name. Whether we ever get married or not, I have no problems with this. Some of my family members disagree, but it's not up to them. It means a lot to him for the baby to have his last name.
  • I knew that we would be getting married soon. With my first. So we gave him the fathers name. We are now married with all of us with the same name.
  • We have been married 3 years and I kept my maiden name. DH already has a hyphenated last name, so LO will be getting that hyphenated name. I don't really imagine it being an issue.

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  • I didnt keep my maiden name, but I do know its becoming more and more popular for women with established careers to keep their own last name for career purposes. I wouldnt worry personally about proving youre her parent, but like a PP said you can keep proof on you at all times.
  • Thanks all! It's good to know that others haven't had logistical issues, at least nothing serious. We are still trying to decide whether or not to hyphenate, but it's good to get different perspectives.
    I know two families personally that gave the kids mom's last name and not dad's, but that seems rare. I know a lot of families where mom changed her name to dad's after the kids were born. Most of the families I know that hyphenate the kids' names are same sex couples. I can't imagine giving up my name, and I didn't think I'd mind giving her DH's name, but I'm still figuring that part out.
  • I kept my maiden name for professional reasons (and honestly, his lastname sounds TERRIBLE with my first name, so there's some vanity at play, too) and both of our kids (and our March baby) have his last name.  No problems have arisen, other than minor inconveniences here and there (and my oldest daughter has medical issues with multiple lengthy hospital stays).  Really, the only hassles arise when we travel and I book everything, then my husband tries to check-in or pick up our rental car without me.  He also gets called "Mr. MY LASTNAME" quite a bit when I've made the restaurant reservation, at hotels, etc., which I find mildly amusing.  But bottom line, no real problems.   We never considered using my maiden name as a middle name because my last name is a bit of a mouthful, as is his, and the combination of both together would be pretty bad.  

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  • When FI and I were unsure if we could get married before baby's birth we decided on his last name. In Switzerland you must do a formal recogonition of the baby's father before the birth, if you're not married. We put his last name on that paper. But we'll be married in two weeks and I'm taking his last name, so we'll all be the same now.

    It's up to you, don't worry about what other people think. 
  • If we aren't married before she's here, the baby gets my last name. He isn't happy about it. Oh well.
  • Giving baby daddy's last name, we will be getting married in May. I plan to hyphenate my last name because I have 2 kids from before that have my current last name and they don't want to change theirs.
  • I don't have this issue, but if you are worried about medical and travel, you won't have a problem if you keep a copy of her birth certificate with you, as it will have both your legal names on it. Most won't question you just saying you are her parent, but the birth certificate will be more than enough for any who do.

    Edited: spelling

  • When I had my first baby, I gave the baby my last name since his father walked away a couple of times before I had him. Then gave the father another chance again and again to be in my son's life and he walked out on him twice again and I said no more, I couldn't bear to watch my boy's heart break again. My second baby's father was a "coyote ugly"... Not proud of that, but she is a lovely little girl and I can't imagine my life without her... Though I could do without the drama from her father. She was given my last name because he was nowhere to be found until she was about 18 months old. She still barely knows him, and my fiance has been with us since she was 2... So he is already filling in as Daddy. Warms my heart to hear her say she is glad he is her daddy, and for him to reply that he is glad she is his baby girl. My son is a little more guarded but I know he loves my fiance, and my fiance has told me in the past that if he had a son before us (he was married once before, no kids), he would hope his son was just like him. I am proud to give this new baby his last name in March, and to add his last name to mine in May <3
  • I wouldn't worry about having problems with medical issues or travel. It's illegal for women to change their last names to match their husbands' where I live. A good proportion of families do hyphenate children's names, a small minority give the wife's last name to the kids, but I think the vast majority still give the husband's name. No one I know has ever had issues with medical/travel, even while traveling in other countries where women typically do change their names. I think whatever you decide will be just fine, OP.
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