Question on name change after marriage in 2011

27 posts in this topic

Howdy Toytowners!

 

This is my first post and I have a specific question. I've read through other similar threads, but didn't seem to find what I was looking for - apologies if I overlooked something.

 

Background:

I am a US citizen and my husband is a German citizen. We were married in Germany in 2011 and I am now looking into changing my name. At the time of our marriage, we opted to both keep our birth names - getrennte Namensführung - I kept my ''amerikanisches Namensrecht'' and my husband his ''deutsches Namensrecht''.

We were married and live in Baden-Württemberg, should that matter.

 

My specific question is this:

We want to choose my husband's last name as our collective last name/Familienname and there will be no change to my husband's full name at all.

 

If his last name is ''Schwarz'' and my full maiden name is ''Mary Anne Baker'', may I use my American Namensrecht to take my maiden last name as a second middle name/ dritten Vornamen and call myself ''Mary Anne Baker Schwarz''. Schwarz being my last name and family name and Mary Anne Baker being my full first name(s). Has anyone done this?

 

I know that Germany regulates given/first names for acceptability, is a ''last name'' sounding name ok? I feel that this approach is used in the US, for a woman to take her maiden name as an additional middle name, at least in my family.

The name would then be stylized as ''Mary (A.B.) Schwarz''.

 

Obviously I will be getting a consultation with my appropriate Standesamt (in the town we married), but I would be appreciative of any information or input about my desired combination in case Herr Beamter shoots me down. Knowledge is power. :-)

 

Thanks in advance,

Gochujang

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I did just about that very thing, but right when we got married, but Mary Baker Schwarz instead of Mary Anne Baker Schwarz. The U.S. Embassy has an explanation, in German, of what our naming laws generally are (varies state to state), and my Beamter had to get a little creative, marking out my old middle name and writing in my maiden name as my second Vorname, but it worked well enough for getting my new US passport the way I wanted it.

 

Good luck!

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In German law there are only four circumstances in which one is allowed to change one's name:

 

  • On marriage: the couple can choose the name of either partner, they can both keep their original names, or (provided the original family name of neither partner contains a hyphen), one partner can modify their own name, appending the partner's family name to their own, creating a hyphenated name ("Mr. Schmid and Ms. Meier-Schmid" or "Mr. Schmid-Meier and Ms. Meier").
  • Correction of a name: if the state has made an error with the name and this can be proven, the original name can be restored. Example: "Maſs" became "Mahs" and is corrected to "Mass".
  • Gender reassignment, in the case of transsexuals.
  • Naturalisation of foreigners (per Article 47 of the EGBGB). In this case, the foreigners may choose to adopt German forms of their first and last names, or adopt new first names if their old first names cannot be adapted into German.

 

According to the above info, copied last month from a Wikipedia article, Mary Anne Baker-Schwarz should be acceptable to your Standesamt Beamter.

 

There may be other laws specific to personal names (which a search of the Gesetze-im-internet website for Personliches Namen/srecht should reveal) but, AFAIR, the main requirements are covered in one or more of these 3 laws/codes (links are to English translations):

Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB)

German Civil Code (BGB) Full Text

Basic Law (GG) for the Federal Republic of Germany

 

2B

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[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

 

My husband and I were married about 4 days before we moved to Germany. So, my (Canadian) passport was in my maiden name. And then upon arrival, I registered everything (residency, health insurance, etc etc) all in my maiden name as it matched my passport.

 

I've kept things that way (for 6 years!) because I was too lazy/cheap to change my passport before its expiry date. It expires shortly, and I had just always planned to have my passport changed to my maiden name and then take my new passport to the Rathaus/Ausländeramt and have everything else changed accordingly. (And then banking, health insurance etc to follow).

 

I casually mentioned this to a German coworker last week and she told me that it is not possible. That when you get married, you need to inform the registrar at the civil ceremony that you are changing your name, and if it is not done at the time of the wedding, then it is too late. You can't keep your maiden name and then decide five years later, or even five days later, that you want to take your husband's name.

 

Seeing as this coworker is not married, I did do a quick Google search to see if it was correct, and it does seem to be. But does anyone know if this is true for foreigners as well? I mean, my own country will allow me to change my name and passport, so does that mean that the authorities here have to accept it? Or if I go in with my new-name passport will they refuse to change things and then cause me a load of hassle with having a passport that does not match my other identification...or...??? I just can't see that there is much they can do about it except to accept it and change my paperwork?

 

I will try to make an appointment at the Ausländeramt to ask someone directly but that's easier said than done. Unless of course there is a Namensänderungamt (I wouldn't be shocked)?

 

Any information is very much appreciated :)

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I think you need to check according to which law you were married. I assume that there are some exceptions but I think that generally speaking what your co-worker said is true for German law. I also know that when we got married here in Germany (alright that was a while ago) that we were asked something about which last name and which country law we wanted to apply. So maybe look into that angle of it. If neither you nor your husband are German and you didn't get married here, then it is probably different for you.

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We were married in the UK and my husband is not German either. As far as I am aware, in the UK you can't choose to be married by another country's law??? But I have to be honest and say I really don't know what you mean by choosing the law that you want to apply, I believe in the UK you have no choice but to follow UK law.

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I casually mentioned this to a German coworker last week and she told me that it is not possible. That when you get married, you need to inform the registrar at the civil ceremony that you are changing your name, and if it is not done at the time of the wedding, then it is too late. You can't keep your maiden name and then decide five years later, or even five days later, that you want to take your husband's name.

 

Name change is regulated by your country of citizenship, i.e. Canada. Your German coworker is right but she describes situation for German citizens. German authorities recognize name change if your country of citizenship recognizes it, end of story.

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Why would you change your last name? Are you your husband's property?

 

Geeez, its the 21st century...

 

MM, what's surprising is people thinking like you in the 21st century diminishing her to chattel for inquiring about changing her name.

 

Women choose to change their last name when they marry for a myriad of reasons.

 

I chose to change my last name to my husband's family name because at birth I was given a very common first name and my family's name is also very common. I was not given a middle name so I had no middle name either which could possibly distinguish me from the other thousands of people whom have my same first and last name.

 

This has caused some issues and me having to convince via fingerprints I'm not those other people with my name who's done illegal things.

 

When I got married (in the 21st century) I took my husband's last name and now my legal name is the same first name, my former last name is now my middle name, and I have my husband's last name.

 

I also like having his last name because we are a family and as a family this is one more thing we have in common.

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MM, what's surprising is people thinking like you in the 21st century diminishing her to chattel for inquiring about changing her name.

 

Women choose to change their last name when they marry for a myriad of reasons.

 

Not surprising at all: this is the patriarchy of 21st century, to blame a woman for being not "modern".

 

Nota bene, while it's a routine for women from Eastern Europe to change their surnames, Russlandsdeutsche don't do it if wife's last name is Germanic and husband's last name is Slavic. In this case either husband adopts wife's last name or they both keep their last names.

 

Also, families of scientists never change their last names, because they need to keep publication records.

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I changed from maiden to husband's name at the local Bezirksamt a few years after marriage. It was no problem. Just showed the marriage certificate and completed some forms. I'm a US citizen and husband is German. Maybe Hamburg is more laid back.

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Name change is regulated by your country of citizenship, i.e. Canada. Your German coworker is right but she describes situation for German citizens. German authorities recognize name change if your country of citizenship recognizes it, end of story.

 

That is what I had always figured...I mean, it makes sense to me, but then figured I've met with stranger rules since moving here, so... :rolleyes:

 

(I've never heard it called the "Bezirksamt" before!!)

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Also, families of scientists never change their last names, because they need to keep publication records.

 

(wo)men in that situation who decide to change their names (like my wife..) can just keep using their original name in their publications/scientific world, it becomes their pen name so to speak. There's no author's name police out there tasked with preventing it.

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^^Yep, me too. My legal surname is that of my husband but, as I was a published scientist before I was a wife, I continue to publish under my maiden name. The only people who have any problem with it are university IT departments, who want my email account (which I want to match the names on my publications) to match the name on my payslip, for reasons which remain murky to me...

 

Anyway; I agree with LR and Yourkeau - what's surprising is people who think a woman shouldn't choose to take her husband's name. I did it for the kids, in case one day they exist; I did it for my husband and his family, because it's just kind of... nice; I did it for myself, for the same reasons I chose to get married at all: I want to be a Wife, a Mrs, a person obviously connected with my husband - not girlfriend or partner, but someone who has made a commitment and wants the world to know that. Taking his name was, for me, part of that. For others, it isn't necessary - each to their own choice - that's what's good about the 21st century...

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Anyway; I agree with LR and Yourkeau - what's surprising is people who think a woman shouldn't choose to take her husband's name. I did it for the kids, in case one day they exist; I did it for my husband and his family, because it's just kind of... nice; I did it for myself, for the same reasons I chose to get married at all: I want to be a Wife, a Mrs, a person obviously connected with my husband - not girlfriend or partner, but someone who has made a commitment and wants the world to know that. Taking his name was, for me, part of that. For others, it isn't necessary - each to their own choice - that's what's good about the 21st century...

 

That is a submissive role, which you clearly take by saying you can only be connected with your husband if you take his name.

 

 

I did it for my husband and his family, because it's just kind of... nice;

 

What about your family?? More submission.

 

And although I agree that it is 21st century to make your own choice, women submission is also outdated.

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That is a submissive role, which you clearly take by saying you can only be connected with your husband if you take his name.

 

What about your family?? More submission.

 

And although I agree that it is 21st century to make your own choice, women submission is also outdated.

 

You are attacking a women for making a choice that you dont like and attemping to dress it up as defending her. Not cool.

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For others, it isn't necessary - each to their own choice - that's what's good about the 21st century...

 

Exactly, if a woman chooses to change her name to her husband it doesn't mean she's either submissive or chattel.

 

It's her right to choose and it's steeped in centuries of tradition and from my meager vantage point of having changed my name to my husband's and with most of my family and friends who's done the same, I really don't get why some people considers it as being "submissive" or negative in any way.

 

Btw, a friend of mine who lives in Germany has been divorced from her ex-husband for forty years and she's still using her "German" last name legally.

 

 

 

That is a submissive role, which you clearly take by saying you can only be connected with your husband if you take his name.

 

What about your family?? More submission.

 

And although I agree that it is 21st century to make your own choice, women submission is also outdated.

 

Submissive role? MM, this sounds like you may have some unresolved control issues.

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My wife wished to change her name after we married, but I forbid her to do so on the grounds that it was submissive.

 

(Yes, this is meant to be witty.)

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You are attacking a women for making a choice that you dont like and attemping to dress it up as defending her. Not cool.

 

I am defending women from a stupid tradition. Apparently in Anglo-Saxon countries this is a bad idea. Then people wonder why there are so few women on leadership positions in Germany. I tell you why: here submission starts at home.

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Really? "Stupid tradition" and "submission starts at home here in Germany "?

 

Please don't try to attempt to defend women or save women by making us aware of the potential hazards of living together with our husband's last name. There's far more important issues in the world and on TT to champion.

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