Uncovering the Disadvantages of Not Changing Name After Marriage in the UK

June 11, 2023

In a world where individuality and personal choices are increasingly celebrated, the question of whether to change one's name after marriage remains a complex and emotional topic. For some, retaining their maiden name symbolizes independence and a strong sense of identity, while others may opt for a more traditional approach. 

In the UK, the decision not to change one's name after marriage can have various consequences, ranging from family confusion to professional challenges and legal complications. In this blog post, we will explore these implications, discuss alternative name change options, and provide insights to help you make an informed decision on the disadvantages of not changing name after marriage in the UK.

Short Summary

  • Potential family confusion and children's surname dilemma can arise from not changing one's name after marriage in the UK.
  • Professional challenges, legal and administrative complications, travel and identification concerns, emotional impact, social perception & judgment must be considered before deciding to change or retain a maiden name.
  • Alternative options such as hyphenating or meshing surnames provide individuals with the opportunity to maintain their family heritage while also acknowledging their partner’s surname.

Potential Family Confusion

Not changing one's name after marriage in the UK can lead to potential family confusion. This decision often goes against social norms and traditional expectations, which can result in misunderstandings and miscommunications within the family.

As each family member may have different perspectives on this matter, it is crucial to consider the broader implications of this choice on your family life and relationships.

Children's Surname Dilemma

One of the most significant challenges faced by couples who do not change their name after marriage is the children's surname dilemma. When children have a different surname than their mother, it can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, especially in situations involving school, medical care, and travel. Parents must decide whether to give their children their father's surname, mother's surname, or a hyphenated combination of both, weighing the practical implications and emotional attachments associated with each option.

In the UK, there are no direct legal ramifications for children if their parents do not change their surname following marriage. However, this decision can still bring confusion and potential difficulties. One possible solution to this dilemma is hyphenating the child's name, which allows them to carry both parents' surnames and maintain a connection to their family heritage.

Traditional Family Members' Expectations

In many cultures, it is traditionally expected that women will assume their husband's last name upon marriage. Not changing one's name after marriage can be perceived as unusual or even disrespectful to one's spouse by more traditional family members. This can create tension and strain relationships, especially during family gatherings and celebrations.

It is essential to keep in mind that, while respecting traditional family values is crucial, personal choices should also be respected. Open communication and understanding can help navigate these expectations and find a middle ground that satisfies both parties.

Professional Challenges

Not changing one's name after marriage can also have professional implications. Retaining one's surname for professional purposes may be more convenient and help preserve one's brand image.

However, it can also lead to confusion in the workplace and networking difficulties.

Workplace Misunderstandings

Workplace misunderstandings can arise when colleagues continue to address an individual by their maiden name instead of their married name, leading to confusion and embarrassment. It is legally permissible to continue using the maiden name for work or professional objectives with the authorization of the employer. However, using the maiden name without the employer's permission may result in disciplinary action or even termination.

To avoid workplace misunderstandings, it is essential to inform your employer and colleagues about your decision not to change your name after marriage and request that they address you by your chosen name.

Networking Hurdles

Not changing one's name after marriage can also create networking hurdles. For instance, if someone searches for you on LinkedIn using your married name, you may not appear in the search results. This can lead to missed opportunities and connections in professional contexts.

To avoid such difficulties, it is crucial to update your professional profiles and networks with your chosen name and ensure that your contacts are aware of your decision. Keeping a consistent professional identity across all platforms can help maintain your network and avoid potential confusion.

Legal and Administrative Complications

Not changing one's name after marriage in the UK can lead to legal and administrative complications. While the marriage certificate will not reflect the change of name, changing one's surname legally can be both time-consuming and costly. It involves updating various documents and online accounts.

Marriage Certificate Limitations

In the UK, the marriage certificate does not reflect the surname a person will have after the ceremony. If a woman decides to retain her maiden name but wishes to switch her title to Mrs, she must inform all relevant parties and provide a copy of her marriage certificate.

This can create additional administrative tasks, as individuals need to communicate their decision and update their records accordingly. It is essential to plan and allocate time for these tasks to ensure a smooth transition.

Travel and Identification Concerns

Travel and identification concerns can arise when the name on your passport does not correspond to your name on other identification documents, resulting in confusion and difficulty verifying your identity. However, it is legally permissible to travel with a passport in your maiden name, which can be used to verify your identity and even for travel purposes.

To avoid potential issues while traveling, ensure that your travel documents match the name on your passport and inform relevant authorities of your decision not to change your name after marriage in the UK.

Emotional Impact

Not changing one's name after marriage can have emotional implications. While it may represent a feminist decision and an empowering action, it can also create a sense of disconnection from traditional customs and expectations.

The emotional impact of this choice varies from person to person, depending on their values, beliefs, and personal experiences.

Sense of Unity and Connection

Adopting one's husband's name can create a sense of unity and cohesion between the couple, and any future children would share the same name, making things more convenient. Furthermore, the knowledge of the couple's married status is immediately recognizable upon learning their names.

On the other hand, retaining one's maiden name may affect how outsiders perceive the relationship, and changing one's name may evoke a sense of erasing the past. It is crucial to weigh the implications of this decision on your sense of unity and connection within your family and determine which choice aligns best with your values and priorities.

Social Perception and Judgment

Retaining one's maiden name may be perceived as a feminist decision and an act of self-empowerment, while adopting one's husband's name is considered the prevailing custom. It is essential to consider the potential social perception and judgment associated with your decision and how it may affect your relationships and interactions.

In the end, the decision to change one's name after marriage is a matter of personal preference, with both advantages and disadvantages associated with taking one's spouse's name and retaining one's maiden name.

Alternative Name Change Options

For those who do not want to completely change their name after marriage, alternative name change options are available. These options allow individuals to maintain a connection to their family heritage while also acknowledging their partner's surname.

For example, a person can hyphenate their name, combining both surnames. They can also choose to use their partner's surname as a middle name, or use both surnames interchangeably.

Hyphenating Surnames

Hyphenating surnames is one such option, allowing individuals to preserve their identity while also acknowledging their partner's surname. This approach enables couples to combine both their surnames with a hyphen, creating a new family name that reflects both their heritage.

However, hyphenating surnames can also be challenging to manage and may result in confusion. It is crucial to weigh the practical implications and emotional attachments associated with this option before making a decision.

Meshing Surnames

Another alternative is meshing surnames, which involves combining elements of each spouse's surname to create a new surname for both partners. This option allows couples to respect both family names and form a new identity as equal partners.

While meshing surnames can foster a sense of unity and equality in a marriage, it may also be challenging to articulate correctly and could complicate tracing family history and heritage. Thus, it is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of this option before making a decision.


In conclusion, the decision to change or not change one's name after marriage in the UK is a deeply personal choice with various consequences, ranging from family confusion to professional challenges and legal complications. Alternative name change options, such as hyphenating or meshing surnames, provide additional possibilities for those who wish to maintain a connection to their family heritage while acknowledging their partner's surname. Ultimately, it is crucial to weigh the practical implications, emotional attachments, and social perceptions associated with each option and make a decision that aligns best with your values and priorities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my husband's last name without legally changing it UK?

You can start using your husband's last name without legally changing it, however if you want to formally change your name then you must execute a Deed Poll. Doing this will enable your personal records to be amended on documents such as your passport.

What happens if your name is not changed after marriage?

It is entirely up to the married couple to decide whether or not to change their last name after marriage. While changing your name is a common tradition, there is no obligation to do so and couples are more than welcome to keep their pre-marriage surname if they choose.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what they are most comfortable with.

Is it illegal not to use your married name?

No, it is not illegal to not use your married name. You are free to choose whatever surname you prefer after marriage. There is no legal obligation for a wife to take on her husband's last name.

Am I still a Mrs if I keep my maiden name?

Regardless of marital status, if a woman opts to keep her maiden name after divorce, she should be addressed as "Ms." along with her first name and maiden name.

This conveys respect for her personal choice and acknowledges the strength in her decision.

Name change through deed poll

Name changes through deed poll have become an increasingly popular method for individuals seeking to alter their legal identity for various reasons. A deed poll is a legally binding document that enables a person to officially change their name, whether it be their first name, middle name, or surname. The process usually involves drafting a precise and clear statement of the desired name change, having it witnessed by a notary or solicitor, and then registering it with the relevant government body. Once completed, the individual can use their new name on all official documents, such as passports, driver's licenses, and bank accounts. 

People may choose to change their names for personal, cultural or religious reasons, or even as a means of reinvention and self-expression. Ultimately, name changes through deed poll provide a relatively straightforward and accessible way for individuals to take control of their identity and define themselves on their own terms. To learn how much it costs to change your name click here, and to start your deed poll click here.

How Do I Change My Name?


Ready to Change Your Name?

The UK Deed Poll Office is not a government agency. Our function is purely as a document provider for the self-declaration of an unenrolled deed poll. We are here to assist in your name change journey, as we have done for over 100,000 UK residents.


Join the thousands who have trusted the UK Deed Poll Office to help change their name. Fill out our fast, simple, and affordable online application to receive your Deed Poll in no time!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram