In American films I always see that women change their surnames when they get married. Is it something still common nowadays or is it old fashioned? And is it also common in other countries? Do you agree with that?

Let me tell you that I don't agree with that at all.

I've got some doubts about this matter. What happens with all the documents, papers, certificates, passports, credit cards, etc. women have before they get married, do you have to change them and get new ones or what?

And in case you get divorced, do you have to change your name again?

Thanks for your answers in advance.
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In American films I always see that women change their surnames when they get married. Is it something still common nowadays or is it old fashioned? And is it also common in other countries? Do you agree with that?
Yes, it's still the normal thing to do. The usual exception to this is when a woman has gained a professional reputation using her maiden name prior to marriage. For instance, many celebrities choose to keep their maiden name so as not to confuse the public. It is also common for woman to adopt their maiden name as a middle name after marriage. Pamela Anderson became known as Pamela Anderson Lee after marrying Tommy Lee, for example. Still, even in these cases, the children almost always take their father's last name.

Some woman who have strong feelings about the matter may decide, along with their husbands, to combine both of their last names into one hyphenated last name. For example, if Susan Jones marries Robert Cooper, they may elect to combine their last names into Jones-Cooper. Their children would then also have the last name Jones-Cooper.

Personally, I don't have strong feelings about the matter, and I wouldn't mind if my hypothetical wife chose to keep her maiden name. Still, I wouldn't really want to change my last name into a hyphenated one. I would also prefer that my children be given my last name as it's a long-standing tradition, and not doing so just seems to make things so much more complicated. I mean, if everyone hyphenated their last names, and then their children hyphenated their last names upon marrying, it wouldn't take too many generations for the whole thing to get out of control.
I've got some doubts about this matter. What happens with all the documents, papers, certificates, passports, credit cards, etc. women have before they get married, do you have to change them and get new ones or what?
Yes, they legally change their name, and replace all those documents.
And in case you get divorced, do you have to change your name again?
Usually a woman will keep her married name even after divorce (just as she will usually still go by "Mrs."). Of course, if she wishes to change her name then she has the legal right to do so.

Also, I could easily be wrong, but my impression is that the adoption of the husband's surname by his wife and children is the typical practice not just in America, but in most of Europe as well. I do know, however, that the Spanish-speaking world is different, Coachpotato. So it doesn't suprise me to see that you would ask this question being that you are from Spain.
Thanks for your answer young californian Emotion: smile

In Spain, as you have said, when a woman gets married she doesn't change her surname, in fact here everybody has got two family names, one from your father and one from your mother. For example, if Maria Perez Iglesias and Pedro Cruz Hermida have got a baby, the baby will have one of her/his father's surnames (traditionally the 1st one) and one of his/her mother's surmanes (traditionally the 1st one). So the baby's name would be for example: Cristina Cruz Perez. The father's surname used to be the 1st one, but fortunatelly nowadays parents can choose so the baby could also be called Cristina Perez Cruz.

Is it the same in other Spanish-speaking countries? And what about the rest of the world?

And what about having a middle name? Is it common in your countries to have more than one name?
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Is it the same in other Spanish-speaking countries? And what about the rest of the world?
I think that many, if not all, Spanish-speaking countries have similar naming practices, but I'm not sure. As for the rest of the world, I really don't know enough to comment on that. Hopefully some other people will comment on this topic.
And what about having a middle name? Is it common in your countries to have more than one name?
Yes, most people are given three names upon birth: a first name, a middle name, and a last name. The middle name usually acts as a second first name (in that most people's middle name's are typical first names such as Robert, Mary, James, Nicole, Timothy, et cetera). Sometimes children are given a middle name with special significance, such as their mother's maiden name. Here are some examples of the full names of famous Americans:

Bill Clinton - William Jefferson Clinton

Julia Roberts - Julia Fiona Roberts

Elvis Presley - Elvis Aaron Presley

Bill Gates - William Henry Gates III

Beyoncé Knowles - Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

Brad Pitt - William Bradley Pitt
I just want to say while I agree with the rest of the answer, I don't agree that this is "usually" the case.
YoungCalifornian
And in case you get divorced, do you have to change your name again?
Usually a woman will keep her married name even after divorce (just as she will usually still go by "Mrs."). Of course, if she wishes to change her name then she has the legal right to do so.

Many women (especially if the don't have children who have the father's last name) go back to their maiden name after divorce. On the other hand, many will keep their ex-husband's name if they have developed in their profession since the marriage, or if they have children together. I even knew one couple where the wife kept her ex-husband's name even after her marriage (to her second husband) because she was very well known professionally by her first married name.

I think it pretty uncommon these days for a divorced lady (in her 20's, 30's or 40's) to continue to be Mrs. Smith after she divorces John Smith. It used to be that while they were married, she was Mrs. John Smith, and after she was divorced she was Mrs. Mary Smith. Now, assuming she keeps Smith after the divorce, she'll most likely be Ms. Smith.

Personally, when I got married to husband number one, I changed my middle name to be my maiden name, and took his last name. When we got divorced, I kept my name because we had kids together. However, I had the good fortune to fall in love with another man who shared my maiden name - I was VERY happy to have my "old" name back when I married him But not exactly the same: my first and last names are the same as when I was a child, but my middle name is now my old married name - so when I call the school or the pediatrician and use my "full" name, there is a connection to my kids.

We have a lot of flexibility with our names; as long as you're not trying to do it for deceptive purposes (say, to get out of a debt that you owe), it's not hard to change your name.
Many women (especially if the don't have children who have the father's last name) go back to their maiden name after divorce. On the other hand, many will keep their ex-husband's name if they have developed in their profession since the marriage, or if they have children together. I even knew one couple where the wife kept her ex-husband's name even after her marriage (to her second husband) because she was very well known professionally by her first married name.
Well, I can only speak from own experience, and every divorced woman I know of has kept her married name at least until her next marriage. Admittedly though, all those woman also had children, which would seem to fall in line with what Grammar Geek suggests.
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Practises (and laws) vary from country to country and person to person.

In the UK most women do change their surname to their husband's on marriage, but not all. It's a personal choice. I didn't. We are also rather more flexible here than in the USA - we don't have to go through all the palaver of a legal name change. You just decide what name you want and that's your name. Anyone can take any name at all, as long as you are not doing it for fraud. (You can get a formal legal change by deed poll if you want, but it's not necessary).

Iceland has an interesting system. Their surnames are their father's first name plus 'son' for a man or 'dottir' for a woman. So if a man called Magnus Ragnarsson (his dad was called Ragnar something) has a daughter her surname is Magnusdottir, and his son would be Magnusson. Their phone book lists people alphabetically by their first 'given' name, not surname. A woman does not change her name on marriage - if she did her name would be telling everyone she was the son of her father-in-law - impossible!
In India, almost all of the women take on their husband's surname after marriage. It is only in recent times, that we find women who choose to keep their maiden surnames even after marriage. As in all other countries, women who are rich and famous almost always continue to keep their maiden surnames. However most of the women change back to their maiden surnames after divorce.

There are many sects & communities of people who have different systems with regard to the change of name. In some, the husband can change his wife's first name to whatever he would like to call her after marriage. For example if a girl named Nina Kamat marries a boy named Sushil Naik, she would be called Seema Naik (a completely different name altogether).

There are also many communities who follow the system of having the name of the village they belong to, as their surname.
Hello everyone,

What about a man taking his wife's surname?

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