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Changing Your Name... And I wanted to Do This Why?

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Not long ago, I went through a legal name change. Now that all you June brides have shaken the rice out of your hair, I thought I would let you in on what's in store. Though marriage is a top reason people change their names, it's not the only reason. Here are the top 10 in the U.S.:

  1. Never liked it/felt it was right in the first place.
  2. Hard to pronounce or spell
  3. Embarrassing
  4. Interfering with career advancement or job search
  5. Getting married (92 percent of American women still take their husband's name)
  6. Getting divorced
  7. Want to remain anonymous (writers, reporters, detectives, etc.)
  8. Want a more "American" name (or got one through inattention at immigration)
  9. Need a shorter, sexier name (actors, musicians, etc.)
  10. Other reasons (gender reassignment, spiritual/religious conversion, etc.)

I didn't change my name when I got married 32 years ago, so it felt slightly silly to change it now. But I'm old enough to vote, drive, get a tattoo. Hell, I'm old enough to join AARP. I think I'm old enough to decide what my name is.

I looked up the rules and talked to friends who have done it. I was assured it was not hard. It's basically just a two step process:

  1. Submit a form in court for a judge's approval.
  2. Update your legal documents.

What I didn't realize was that while young brides may have a few documents to update, by the time you reach my age, your name is attached to more paper than the U.S. Code and updating your legal documents becomes a new career. I created the chart below to serve as a guide for anyone thinking of embarking on this "simple" process:

Would I still do it, had I known? Hell, yeah.