Younger women may be setting us back to a time to when it was illegal to keep your maiden name after you married.
A wedded couple used to be viewed as “one person” by the law, which meant that the husband took control of any property owned and handled the finances. It was only in 1972 that the United States legally allowed a woman to keep her name.
If we fought so hard for our rights, why are young married women in such a hurry to change their names? Some even take a break at their own reception to make the switch over to their husband’s name on social media.
In 2015, The New York Times reported that maiden names were on the rise again, but that's no longer the case, says Danielle Tate, founder of MissNowMrs, a site that assists people who'd like to easily change their names after marriage. She would know—she’s had over 400,000 customers in two countries who have used her services to swap their name for their hubby's. The idea kicked in when Danielle went to make her own name change, and found the process so frustrating that she created her company, which helps you legally change your name on all forms and documents in 30 minutes.
“Name change is a hot button topic,” Danielle tells Personal Space. “We streamline the 13-hour process into 30 minutes for $30. When I got married, I took a day off work, it took me three trips just to get my name on the driver’s license. I burned an entire day for nothing. I don’t think every woman should change their name, but if you’re going to, don’t waste 13 hours doing it.”
But in this day and age, why do women still change their names?
Danielle explains that hyphenated name is pretty much dead now, because hyphenating “sticks like crazy glue” and when you sign something legally or pay taxes you have to always use both names, which is both annoying and time consuming.
Most women now are choosing to make their maiden names their middle name.
“They take a second middle name or replace their middle name with their maiden name,” Danielle says, adding, “that way you hang onto it but don’t have the 38 digits hanging off your business card.”
Over the last two years she has seen a huge surge in women completely taking their husband’s last name and dumping their own.
“They feel it shows you’re all in, I’m completely committed to this,” she says. “ A lot of women say ‘I felt like it was right for me.’”
Younger women don’t see name change as a negative connotation anymore, there’s been a big sociological shift, says Danielle, which is why the older a woman is when she gets married the less likely she is to take her spouse’s name completely. But women will latch on to a guy’s name if his social or economic status is good—especially in the south.
“Education level also determines the more likely a woman is to hang on to her name. But no matter how educated or a woman’s age, there’s the starstruck love factor. I called that Amal Clooney would change her name,” Danielle says. “There’s that factor ‘I love that person’ and Amal is confident enough to do it.”
“It seems like more and more it’s a personal choice,” she adds, saying that there has also been a small increase in men blending their names “which upsets both sides of the family.”
Danielle also created the Married Name Game, a quick seven question quiz to help you determine what you want to do if you are ever in a name change predicament.
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