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Best of Both Worlds?

How to Know if Keeping Your Maiden Name at Work is Right for You


The process of getting married comes with a million personal choices to be made along the way. Post-wedding reality brings another choice. Do you want to keep your maiden name or embrace your married one? Each decision is personal and unique and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

When it comes to something as momentous as what name you’ll be known by for the rest of your life there are different options and choices available.

For some brides keeping their husband’s name and becoming a team in name and marriage is a straightforward decision. But for plenty of others it’s more complicated.

With the average age for brides continually rising, it’s increasingly likely that you’ll have built up a professional reputation, client base or network who know you by your maiden name, and you might be keen to maintain continuity professionally. If you’ve published anything professionally changing your name will distance you from our previous work. But what if you also like the idea of having the same name as your partner and, potentially, children when you’re at home?


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An Impossible Quandary

It might sound like an impossible quandary, but the answer could be keeping one name professionally and another for your home-life. It’s not a solution that suits everyone – you’ll need to be able and willing to differentiate between your professional life and your married life – but for some brides (or grooms) it’s the ideal choice.

Changing to your married name in your personal life and keeping your maiden name in your professional life is a perfectly legal and valid option.

By keeping your birth name professionally, you don’t have to worry about confusing clients or your professional network. There are no awkward, incorrect introductions at networking events, no need to change business cards or inform your clients of your new name. You can keep the professional reputation you have built up without causing confusion. This option is particularly popular with Lawyers, Doctors and other professionals who opt to either keep their maiden name professionally or double-barrel, which is another option to consider.

If you think you can handle differentiating between the two different names, then this could offer you the best of both worlds. You can be Miss “Maiden” in the office and Mrs “New” everywhere else. It is a very personal and symbolic way to honour both your life prior to marriage and your life as a married person.

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Who do I tell?

To do this, we recommend ring fencing all accounts and official bodies that purely relate to your professional life, where you would need to retain your maiden name. This might include:

Once you have created this sphere to keep in your maiden name professionally you can concentrate on changing to your new name with the remaining companies and government bodies.

Updating formal identification documents such as your driving licence and passport is necessary for your new name. You should change at least one piece of formal ID - either your driving licence or your passport. You can opt to update both into your new name, if appropriate.

If you choose to change your passport to your married name, you can make an ‘observation’ request in section 8 of your passport renewal application form to have it noted that you use your birth name professionally.

It’s worth noting, though, that you will not be able to travel in your ‘observed’ name as it is for identification and not border control purposes.

It’s important to think about whether you should align your passport name (maiden or new) with your NHS record so that they align with any vaccination records that would be needed when you travel overseas. Consider what will realistically work in your own circumstances.

With regards to your bank, you will need to have a longer-term view on this. If you have more than one account, keep one for your salary to be paid into. If you only have one account, you may want to consider opening a second in your new name. This is particularly important for any new employment down the line as the name on your account needs to match the name on your employment record when a new salary (BACS) payment is being set up by an employer. This is a key consideration to weigh up when considering life with two distinct names.

There’s clearly a lot of things you need to think about if you decide you want one name at work and another in your personal life – who to notify, who not to notify etc - but it is achievable. And we’re here to make the seemingly complicated process a lot less overwhelming.


Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

Try it on for Size

Choosing to use two names, one professional and one personal, certainly isn’t the most straightforward route when it comes to admin, and it’s a particularly personal choice to have two distinct identities. For some, it’s the answer to maintaining their professional reputation whilst embracing married life. For others, it’s something they’d like to try for a while and see if it fits them personally.

You could always prepare for a full name change but initially only go ahead with the personal change. To do this, simply get all the forms & letters you need to change your name fully and then put everything needed for a name change in your professional sphere in a safe place to be completed later. You’ll the have time to consider if you’d rather just have one name or two.

If you find it too confusing having a distinction between your professional/personal name you can go ahead and change entirely. There is no time limit or official sequence in which to change your name, so if years down the line you decide that you want to change to your married name in all aspects of your life, you absolutely can. Or if you find the ‘best of both’ approach works for you, you’re all set!

Deciding what to be called in all areas of your life after your marriage is such a personal decision and only you can decide what works for your unique situation and personality type. But with the right information at your fingertips, you can feel confident in your decision.

How can NameSwitch help?

The average name changer notifies approximately 24 different government bodies, local authorities, and companies. Figuring out who needs what can be daunting and takes 14 hours on average! Most name changers find this process tedious and overly complicated.

NameSwitch has created a UK first and only award-winning namechange toolkit to help simplify this process. Change your name with speed and ease saving you so much time and with peace of mind that you’ll get it right first time.

In just 3 easy steps you can select who you need to notify from 700 government bodies, local authorities, and companies. You only need to enter your details once. You’ll have instant access to download your pre-populated name change letters, forms and personalised instructions ready for you to print and sign.

Need our expert advice? Why not check out our FAQs or Get in touch with our UK-based support team for a human response - we are here to help.

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Learn how to change your name on your drivers licence, on your Facebook account and how to handle updating your COVID pass along with your passport


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