More than a year and a half ago, I married a silly little (big) red head who continues to be the most amazing life partner I could ask for. As soon as we became engaged, I firmly decided that I would not be amongst the gads of people who take their husband's (wife's, partner's) names. Not because I wanted to be staunchly independent or spite anybody or because I thought I was too good for it (though i was suggested).
Rather, I have spent my whole life in my body, sporting my name and twenty three years into that process, I was having a hard time coming to grips with starting over. The identity crisis came in when I realized that I would go from being the only person in the United States with my name to one of thousands should I take Red's last name. It seemed like I was letting go of all the years it has taken me to become me. And to get right down to it, I spent twenty three years getting made fun of, misspelled, mispronounced, and loathing my last name (w, e, f as in frank . . . ) to sweep that hard work aside.
I tossed around the idea of hyphenating names, making my name my middle name, but in the end, I could not be comfortable with any of the decisions so I chose to not decide.
Well nearly two years later, I am feeling in a place where I would like to have more solidarity with my husband, at least in the paper-sense here. We've discussed both hyphenating our names, but when it comes down to it . . . it's just so damn long.
So I'm attempting to gather as much information as I can. From what I've found from state of IL websites, you don't have to change your name which I understand. My question is :: If you change your name (hyphenate it), are you required to always use both names? What are the legal implications? Should I change my name, I would like to use my maiden name professionally and married name socially [or just when I want to]. What are my obligations? How will it affect my credit and financial history, checking account, legal matters? Will I have to put both names on all forms and documents? Basically, I want to have both names, never use the two together, and use either one when I want to. Is that possible?
I appreciated all forms of knowledge!
The coolest part would definitely be having three aliases :)