Advice on name changes?

Full disclosure, I reveal in this post that my husband and I are a hot mess as humans, so if you need a confidence boost on literally any aspect of your functionality as an adult, please do read. And this is not finance related but its Important and you people are Smart and also only some of you know me so. Here we go.


So assume I am Meowkins Meowskowits. And husband is Aybara. I didn’t change my name to Aybara when I got married because I felt like it was weird to do so and a hassle.

I was cool with our son being an Aybara but husband insisted that him getting death threats for his work put Son at risk and he wanted Son to be a Meowskowits too. No matter what I said, including the fact that he’s the only male Aybara to pass on the name, made a difference.

Then Son was born and he was a year old and Husband said, “Hey actually it means a lot to me for Son to be an Aybara.” (CUE I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO, LA LA LA)

So we are gonna change Son’s name. But I donno. Maybe I should be an Aybara, too. Maybe I should have the same last name as my kid? I’d have to carry around a birth cerfiticate to prove to people that hes my son if we travelled??

But for our unique circumstances it is a convoluted process.

  1. We need to fix Sons birth cerfiticate because the Georgians put a typo in Husbands name. (YES THIS IS STILL NOT FIXED, WTF)

  2. Then we need to file with the court and go thru that process to change Son’s name.

  3. Then we need to update his birth cert, social security, and health records.

  4. Then we need to apply for a passport for Son in case we have to flee a fascist country.

So we do all that, but if I change my name now, it probably makes everything more insane. Like, it becomes:

  1. We need to fix Sons birth cerfiticate because the Georgians put a typo in Husbands name.

  2. Then we need to file with the court and go thru that process to change Sons name and my name.

  3. Then we need to update his birth cert with his new name, and my name, his social security, and health records, and my everything.

  4. Then we need to apply for a passport for Son in case we have to flee a fascist country while I get my passport and all of my documents updated.

Should I just update Sons name now and wait for when the world is more stable to change mine? But then son’d have no less than THREE amendments to his birth certificate?!

… Am i overthinking this? Maybe I dont have to worry about concentration camps for US citizens in 2021? BUT WHO KNOWS AT THIS POINT?

Feel free to judge me silently but if you do it aloud I will probably cry.


I mean, I have no idea, but this isn’t nearly as much of a mess as it probably feels like. Seriously, this doesn’t seem like it’s strange at all to me aside from the having to deal with the typos part. It’s a pain, but you’re doing just fine as a person.


This means a lot since I consider you a very smart and functional person! A lot of this distress is likely due to feeling the instability of the times.


Zero judgment from me regardless of what you decide. The last name that I was born with has a space in it (except that other families with the same last name spell it as one word without the space). Dealing with paperwork and bureaucracy was so annoying that I gladly took my husband’s (single word) last name when we got married.

So I certainly understand the desire to minimize paperwork around this. Maybe you could use Aybara as son’s last name socially but not change it legally for now? Or Husband can be responsible for any paperwork unless you’re absolutely required to be the one who fills it out?


Are you feeling like you should or feeling like this is actually important to one/both of you? Because it’s a lot of time and effort. If you keep going back and forth, maybe try the toss a coin trick to see how you feel when it lands on heads/tails?

Agreeing with minimizing paperwork if at all possible, either by not changing yours or by having husband deal with filling it out if it’s important to him or whatever.


Husband is going to do all the paperwork he can to get this squared away. I told him I was cool with the decision but if it was important to him it felt right for him to do the legwork. It’s not been done for months so we are setting a deadline that if things aren’t moving on the name change in 2 months, we are not gonna do it because I can’t have it hanging over my head.

Basically, I can’t ascertain how important it is to my husband, but I can set boundaries we agree on and he can decide how much it means to him.

I am worried about the trouble I’d run into not having the same last name as my husband and kid.

I guess I could just wait and see how I feel about my name change, but if I do want to change it in the future, won’t updating Son’s birth certificate again mean there’s like… 4 versions in existence?


My name matches my fathers but not my mothers, who kept her “maiden” name. We traveled a lot when I was a kid, and you ALREADY - regardless of surname - have to bring a lot of paperwork to prove that you’re not illegally smuggling your kid out of the country/state so you’re literally not creating extra paperwork beyond what has to happen anyway.

What I will say if you don’t strongly desire to change your last name, I would not do it for the sake of conforming/ease of travel.

I changed my name as well via court process and it was quite easy though spend ($139 all told I believe), my biggest regret was that I didn’t do it earlier. It’s way easier to get a name changed for a kiddo that has less forms of ID now than it is for you. The biggest cost/hassle was getting things like drivers’ licenses and school IDs reissues.

Anyway, my thought is change lil one’s surname and don’t change yours unless you really feel strongly about it.


I guess I’m confused about why changing your last name would mean you have to change your son’s birth certificate again. That’s what your last name was, when he was born. When people get divorced I don’t think they go back and change the mother’s name on their children’s birth certificates back to their maiden names. Maybe some people do, but my mom definitely didn’t - she has had 3 different last names since I was born, but my birth certificate still has the name that she had when I was born.


I’ll just say, my mom was in this camp as it was important for her to keep the last name she had (it is simpler and also connected to her indigenous ancestors) and it hasn’t been an issue in 33 years of having a kid and a husband with a different name.

I did have like a 2 week run when I was a kid where I hurt my dad’s feelings a bunch because I was like “I WANT TO USE MY MOM’S LAST NAME IT IS WAY SIMPLER”


The only answer to this that I have is that I am a neurotic psycho who worries that someone will try to steal my kid?? idk.

I didn’t know this! I wanna hear this story.

As to names, I do totally understand the emotion that goes into names and I see why it is important to husband. At this point it’s all shitty because if he had just agreed to use his last name, then we could have given Son’s middle name to one of my male relatives. As it is, my husband wanted to follow in their family tradition of making Son’s middle name the same as Husband’s father’s. So now I do not have that opportunity unless we wanna change Sons middle name too and then tell my FIL this. :woman_facepalming: No matter what, I kinda lose on this, but my husbands family all died in the holocaust, so I GET how important it is to make sure his family memory is honored.

I am not going to lie about the deep and unrelenting female wrath I have that men can just stroll up and assume that they are owed a surname, so it is ONLY the family history that makes it palatable to me.

Maybe that is TMI, but idc at this point in my life.


This was very comforting, thank you :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Ditto except my mom just didn’t want to take my dad’s last name. No important cultural reasons, she just didn’t want to take his for the same reason I changed it when I got married - it’s unpronounceable by most Americans and I’m tired of spelling it out for people. :laughing:

Oh and being on the other side of it now - my name matches my kid’s - it is not noticeably easier than when my mom’s surname did not match mine.


It’s a pretty simple story: hated my birth (first) name. Was precocious child. Picked a new name after reading the entirety of the 10,000 baby names book from the library when I was 10 years old, went by that name from that point forward and refused to answer to birth name. Made a mess of documents - went by one name for the SATs, one for the ACTs, that kinda thing.

My yaya (grandmother) had picked my birth name, so my parents said I could legally change it when I was 18 or she died. She died when I was 18 but I didn’t have the funds to change my name, so I finally got around to it when I was 23 years old.

The reason I finally did it was because if you change your name within a year of getting a passport, it is free to get a new passport issued. I didn’t want to pay for two passports so that kicked my butt in gear, and I was entering college the next year and I didn’t want my college transcripts to be the wrong name.

Actual name change process was simple, in my city you can just place a notice they give you on a board in the courthouse for 2 weeks, get a court date on “Name Change Wednesday” which is like the 3rd wednesday of the month where every name change was processed in the same room.

The simplest part was social security. I literally just walked into the social security office, no wait, went to the window, showed them my court order and then 2 weeks later a new SS card showed up.

The hardest part was remembering all the places that had the old name - credit bureaus, voting record, banks, IRA, etc. That took more work. I slowly changed those over like…several years.


Random thing that amuses me - I finally had to update my library card after almost a decade of married life, it was the last hold out and I deliberately didn’t change it because hard-to-spell surname was much easier to find on the holds shelf, lol.


Haha, I have often considered if I should go by a different last name because my last name is often on the top shelf on the holds shelf and I need a ladder to reach. :joy:


I will say…changing middle and surname is the same process. There’s no additional paperwork. You can change all the names at the same time.

I had a friend who had their name changed several times before 2 years old because their parents were indecisive. They seemed amused by the decision but it affected them 0.


Telling my Jewish father-in-law that his name is no longer shared with his grandson fills me with apprehension. But yes, worth considering. LOL.


But also he’ll share a surname now right? Maybe that will be consolation.


Having my child’s last name match mine is non-negotiable for me. I’m also more open to the whole family taking a new name than my husband’s vs my father’s


From an emotional perspective (which is still 100% valid, just curious!) or practical concerns? Or both?