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That’s Mrs. Advice Smackdown to You, Bud

By Amalah

Dear Amy,

My question is non-beauty related, but I think you’re completely qualified to answer it. I follow all of your blogs (yes, even ClubMom, and I’m not a Mom, but am completely smitten by Noah). As my friends are getting married, and “the one” has most certainly entered my life, I have begun to contemplate the Marital Name Change. Since I’m from the South, its presumably changed as such: First Middle Maiden becomes First Maiden Married. Drop the middle alltogether. Works for me.

But I’m also attached to my maiden name. I have advanced degrees in this name. And I’ve noticed that you, and several other talented, beautiful and successful women do the First Maiden Married thing, but are sure to include the Maiden. You’re Amy Corbett Storch. Not Amy Storch. Not Amy Corbett-Storch. (No offense to anyone, but I could not work the hyphen). I love this.

My question (finally! I do have a question!) is- how’d you do it? Is Corbett your middle name? Part of your last name? What happened to your middle name? Did you drop it completely, or is it lurking in there too? Do you introduce yourself as Amy Corbett Storch, or just Amy Storch? Do you use Corbett Storch just for professional gigs, or in personal settings as well?

I know it seems like I’m making a big deal out of all of this- but I’m fascinated by the reasons women make the decisions they do regarding the name change and totally curious as to how they start using the new name once they’re married! I’d love to hear what you and your readers think- how they changed it (if they did) and why!

Thanks!
C

PS: I LOVE that you and Jason gave Noah the middle name Corbin as an homage to your maiden name, and I totally wish mine had some sort of name equivalent for any future children. Alas, it does not. Clearly, you guys just rock at the name thing.

My full maiden name (maiden! like I was a delicate flower locked in a tower, wearing a pointy cone hat and a chastity belt) was Amy Beth Corbett. I had no real attachment to my middle name — never went by Amy Beth or included it in my signature — so I dropped it when I got married. Legally speaking, the name Beth no longer exists — my driver’s license, credit cards, Noah’s birth certificate all say Amy Corbett Storch.

But if you ask me what my middle name is, I’ll tell you. It’s Beth.

I think of “Corbett Storch” as my last name, although I won’t get bent out of shape if you call me Amy Storch. That’s my name too. Professionally, however, it’s very important to me to have the Corbett in there. That’s the only time I’m a stickler about it. Business cards, bylines, handshakes and introductions always include both names.

I could have kept Beth and gone with Amy Beth Corbett Storch. I could have hyphenated. I could have not taken Storch at all. I could have asked Jason to include Corbett. I didn’t really have strong feelings one way or the other (of course, I was 20 years old and had no degrees or professional accomplishments tied to my name, which is a big thing to consider later in life), and after kicking around all the options I decided that Amy Corbett Storch was the best combination for me.

I have friends and family who have used each and every one of the more “modern” options (plus quite a few who did the straight-up dropping of maiden names entirely) and they all seem to work out fine. The days of “Mr. and Mrs. Jason D. Storch” are fading into history now, and most people wait for me to introduce myself before making the assumption that Jason, Noah and I all have the same last name.

I am a member of the Storch family now, but I was a Corbett when I first curled up with mountains of books and decided to be a writer. I was a Corbett when I wrote my first story about the pink bunny who ate ice cream and hop hop hopped, but I was a Storch when I came home from work and proudly showed Jason that MY NAME WAS IN THE NEWSPAPER. Editorial Assistant: Amy Corbett Storch.

Both names have meaning to me now, and in the end, I think that’s a sign that I made the right choice.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Meghan
Guest

When my sister got married (2003) she legally changed her name to First, Maiden, Married, and honestly it surprised me. She was quite attached to her middle name, and often went by both first and middle names together among friends and family. She even called her college and had a new diploma issued with her married name (which I didn’t even know was possible). First, Maiden, Married seems to work for her. I’m not married, so I haven’t had to make any decisions yet. Professionally I go by First, Middle Initial, Maiden, and I can’t see myself dropping it. I… Read more »

Hot Librarian
Guest

I was not attached to my maiden name, but felt I should hang onto it somehow… I WAS attached to my middle name, and made the somewhat ridiculous decision to hyphenate IT with my first name, and then my last names just sit next to each other with a friendly space between.
The first name hyphenation has caused nightmarish pains in my ass, primarily with my health insurance company, so I don’t recommend it. I was still giddy on the newlywed high when I filled out my name change forms, and what seemed clever was actually just kind of dumb.

Kathryn
Guest
Kathryn

I’m one of the ones who kept all of my names and added my husband’s. I’m officially Kathryn Christine Maiden Married. It’s a little long and unwieldy if I use the whole thing, but I generally just go by Kathryn Maiden Married. No hyphens. I didn’t have any professional reasons for keeping my maiden name, really–I had my undergrad degree but hadn’t yet finished my law degree when I got married and didn’t really have any professional presence. I just wanted to keep it because we have only girls in our family, so I don’t like the thought of our… Read more »

Alli
Guest
Alli

I was in the same spot you were. Advanced degrees! Publications! Also, Southern. Tricky. Plus, to make things more complicated, my middle name is a special family name. So… to keep everything, I went with the official: Alli Middle Maiden Married. It’s on my Social Security card like that and if I ever get around to changing my passport, all 4 names will be there too. Then, I sort of pick and choose between the middle and maiden. Professionally, it’s all Alli Maiden Married to try to link the bylines before and after. But on my checks, I had Alli… Read more »

Kathryn
Guest
Kathryn

I forgot to add that my last name is officially Maiden Married, if that wasn’t clear from my earlier post. So I have First, Middle, Two-part Last.

Elizabeth
Guest

I also did First Maiden Married. I was just more attached to my maiden name than my middle name. I could have kept my maiden name, but then the question would have come up when we had kids of what their last names would be. Plus, my husband’s last name was pronounceable and I always syaid that I was going to marry someone without a confusing Portuguese last name (which my family actually pronounces incorrectly, confusing not only Americans but also Portuguese who like to tell my I say my own name wrong). But once I finished my degree and… Read more »

JennyM
Guest
JennyM

I did what the Divine Amalah did — I am Jennifer MaidenName MarriedName, and most of my official documents now say so — except for my drivers license, which, due to quite the comedy of errors, says Jennifer MiddleName MarriedName. Oh, well, I get a new one next year and that will be fixed then. Anyway, in professional settings (I’m a lawyer), correspondence, etc., I am Jennifer MaidenName MarriedName — no hyphens, but definitely all three names. To friends and family, I’m Jenny MarriedName, and to some college friends, I’m still simply “MaidenName” because for some twee reason we all… Read more »

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

I am getting married in April and planning on dropping my maiden name all together. I think more often than not up here in Chicago, the women drop their maiden names to take the married name. I will be Rebecca Middle Married. I did get a degree with my Maiden name but that is not really a consideration in my decision since I feel that am still the same person that got the degree. My parents did the same with their names, so did his parents, and so did many of my friends that got married over the past couple… Read more »

Marilyn Porter
Guest

I wish I could have done this. My maiden name isn’t very conducive for inclusion, unfortunately. Corbett fits in there so nicely. But after I was married, it never occured to me not to drop the maiden name. I wish I could have dropped my middle name, I don’t really care for it. Bah and humbug!

Anne Glamore
Guest

Am also from south, with degrees under maiden name. I horrified EVERYONE by just keeping my name when we married. My husband wasn’t all hung up about it. After we had 3 kids, though, I decided to change my name to First Maiden Married, and I did it as a surprise for my husband on our 10th anniversary. I wrapped up my new driver’s license and SS card with a frame that had a picture of us celebrating our engagement on top and our 10th anniversary on the bottom. He was STUNNED and happy. I never changed my name with… Read more »

jasmineN
Guest
jasmineN

I need help along the same lines. I have a non-hyphanated combined last name given at birth. Pretend my dad’s original last name was Newman and my mom’s original last name was Johnson. My name is Jasmine Newmanjohnson. What the hell am I supposed to do? I love the uniqueness of name and the fact that no one else but my dad and I have it (my mom reverted to Maiden after divorce). I also have two and possibly three degrees in this name. But it is also an enormous pain in the ass. And I CANNOT add anything to… Read more »

robin m
Guest
robin m

I’m surprised at the amount of thought that is going into this, for some reason.
When I was married at 23, I took First Maiden Married and was happy with it. When I was divorced at 27, changing my name back to First Middle Maiden was a huge pain in the ass.
Of course, changing name at all is a pain in the ass to the point where I debate not doing it for my next wedding, but I am much too traditional not to. I will definitely be First Middle Married, this time (for personal reasons relating to the Maiden name).

BaltimoreGal
Guest
BaltimoreGal

I can’t imagine changing my name but that’s because I really, really like my name. My mom says I may feel different- but she didn’t like her maiden name as much, so I guess we’ll have to see. If you’re going to change it I think it’s nice to use the maiden as the middle- but it’s not like there’s some rule that you can only have three names. In my dad’s family (and most Irish families going way, way back) women would use their maiden name as their middle name after they got married but not officially drop their… Read more »

Julia
Guest
Julia

Oh, the naming dilemma. I’m getting married in April. I don’t really like the way my Maiden name sounds with my First and Middle, but I have nothing against my last name in general. I just don’t like it for my name. On the flip side, my fiance’s last name sounds very formal to me. It is very British sounding (and is actually a common first name, not last name), and my first and middle name (Julia Rachel) is already British sounding enough. I do have some English in me, but not as much as my name will soon imply!… Read more »

mskilgore
Guest
mskilgore

I must confess, I am really surprised at the number of women who change their names in our society. I’m a lawyer, like a couple of the other commenters, and got married when I was 25. I was two years out of law school, so I didn’t really have a professional image to maintain, but it was how I went through school. I never once even considered changing my name. There’s really no reason for it that I can think of, and my husband didn’t care one way or the other. Even if he had cared, I wouldn’t have done… Read more »

Frema
Guest

I use First Name Married Name for everything except freelance writing gigs. For the pregnancy blog I write for Parents.com, my byline is First Name Maiden Name Married Name, no hyphen. I include my middle name when it’s asked for on forms, so I don’t view using my maiden name in certain instances as a substitute. It’s just another piece of my name.

krisojen
Guest

I always thought I would dump my maiden name–until I got engaged. All of the sudden I was overwhelmed with sentimentality about my maiden name, one I’d had for 30 years. Suggested to the Mister that maybe I wouldn’t change my name and was surprised that he was really hurt by the idea. Finally ended up keeping ALL of my names and picking and choosing the name to use depending on the situation. My advice? No matter what you do, keep your future hubby in the loop about your name. You may decide to go against his wishes, but you… Read more »

Valette
Guest

I dropped my maiden when I got married: I loved my husband and I having the same name. I saw it as unifying the two of us together, not me being assimilated into his parents’ family. I also liked that I was disassociated somewhat from my maiden name – in a small town in a small state like Alaska, everyone knows everyone. Now that I just finished the divorce (so much for unifying!), I’ve reverted back to my maiden. It’s a whole different kind of headache, and I still think of myself with my married last name. Whenever I get… Read more »

pixydust
Guest
pixydust

I have been batting around this subject for a while and would love to get an Internet gut-check on my situation. I have a unique first and last name combo. It’s very catchy and cute and feels very me. I have for many years been called by my first and last time as if it were one name. As if, um… my name were Sara Silver. Friends and strangers quickly get to SaraSilver. Which is fine by me. It feels so “me” that years ago I decided I would keep my maiden name as my last if I ever got… Read more »

Britt
Guest

The first time I got married I changed my name to First Middle Married. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, just did it because that’s what you do. Keep in mind that that was in the ’80’s. I got divorced when I was in college and changing my name back to First Middle Maiden turned out to be a big pain in the butt. For a couple of terms I would get two transcripts – one with each name! I later found out that the name laws here in BC allow a married person (either gender) to change… Read more »

Cameron
Guest
Cameron

Thanks, Amy, for posting my question.
I’m a JD, and am glad to hear what others have done. I agree I’m over-thinking it, but am now confident that I can choose to rock whatever name(s) I choose!
I heart the smackdown…

bbLoup
Guest
bbLoup

Hello! Just thought I’d add something different to the discussion… In my culture (I come from a Central American country), a child’s official name includes both parent’s last names, in addition to a middle name, which results in First Middle Father’sLastName Mother’sLastName. When women marry, they just add their husband’s father’s last name to their own, preceded by “de”. Socially, usually First MaidenName de MarriedName is employed, but nowadays keeping your maiden name is becoming more and more common, particularly if it is socially prominent. Conversely, if a woman has married “up” (yes, I know, I know, but it is… Read more »

leahkay
Guest

Here’s a good one. A friend of mine kept her maiden name when she got married. Then they had a baby. The name they chose for their daughter didn’t end up sounding nice with the father’s last name, so they gave her the mother’s last name. Fine. Then we were talking about her plans for a second child and she said, “Oh, there will definitely be a second child because I’ve promised my husband a kid with his last name.” Also fine. But won’t it be weird to have two full siblings with different last names? Less weird if it’s… Read more »

Maria
Guest
Maria

I too married young (22), but I didn’t change my name, and I don’t use my husband’s name socially either. I was willing to add his name to mine, if he added my name to his, so our names would reflect that we’ve joined each other’s family and created our own. He didn’t want to change his name. I don’t like the paternalistic implications of only the wife changing her name, so I kept my own name. (oddly enough, my dad was thrilled, but my mom was dismayed. She was concerned about addressing envelopes to us, since she wouldn’t be… Read more »

Tessa
Guest
Tessa

Ooooh! I get to be a first! (I’m rarely first for anything, so this is a novelty to me). I am an only child, the last in my family. Although my maiden name can be a mouthful (not really, it’s pronounced just as it’s spelled, three syllables, not bad at all, but people make it worse than it is), I didn’t want to give it up. Especially not when my then-husband-to-be’s last name was Jones. Seriously…Jones. How would you EVER know whether it was someone important or a telemarketer that was calling you? If they can’t pronounce your name, they… Read more »

Kelly J
Guest
Kelly J

I got married this past year, at age 27. I hadn’t really given the name issue much though (assumed I would take his name) until a couple of months before the wedding, when I started having a “married identity crisis.” Although it didn’t necessarily thrill my husband at first, he seems to have gotten used to it. For the time being, I am keeping my name. Kelly J is just who I am. I don’t know who Kelly _ is. I won’t get upset with people referring to me as Kelly _ or Mrs. _ socially (I’m not going to… Read more »

Mary
Guest

I have been married for 20 years, and am Mary Middlename Myname. My kids have my husband’s last name. Socially, I answer to Mrs. Hisname or Mrs. Myname. I don’t really care anymore. Just don’t call me Mrs. Joseph Hisname, because I will glare at you. At work, I’m Mary Myname. Probably the biggest problem we’ve had over the years has been a nurse insisting my husband fill out an affadavit of paternity when our son was born, because we couldn’t possibly be married. And husband’s family calls me the liberated broad. Fortunately they live very far away and I… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

In all the time before I got married I had been adamnant about not changing my name. Too much work, old fashioned, didn’t want to end up with a weird name, etc. Then, shortly before our wedding I asked my husband what he thought about women not changing their names. His answer was that in his native country it was seen as something trendy, particularly for the upper-class, but if I wanted to keep my name he would be okay with that. Well, for some reason, that answer made me really think about why I said I didn’t want to… Read more »

matter
Guest
matter

I never thought I would change my name, and I thought I would never marry someone who cared that I didn’t. Well, that’s not a first-date question, so it didn’t get asked until we were engaged. I assumed he wouldn’t care. He has always known me as First Maiden, so why would I be someone different after we got married? He cared. A lot. He is in love with the idea that his family unit, including kids, all have the same last name. The kicker is that my family is awesome, and his is not. He agrees with me on… Read more »

Kelly J
Guest
Kelly J

Oh yes, Matter just touched on another reason I had that slipped my mind when I was typing my comment. My family = super-awesome. His family (especially in the past two years) = NOT super-awesome (especially certain family members). I think this has been a big roadblock for me too (but one I really haven’t mentioned to him). I just can’t bring myself to want to share a name (and thus be SO closely identified) with the particularly non-super-awesome members of his family. Maybe someday when they are no longer around I’ll feel differently, but I’m not holding my breath.… Read more »

cagey
Guest

It was very hard for me to change my name. However, when I was a kid I hated that my mom’s name was different than mine when she remarried after the divorce. HATED IT. So, I always knew I would not a different name than my children. The best compromise I could find was the FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED combination. I do not hyphenate, but I have worked in a variety of customer service situations and have seen how all too easily things get misfiled when your name is hyphenated or when you try to squeeze the married name onto your… Read more »

Isabel
Guest

What a hot topic! I have never had a middle name, so that hasn’t been an issue. But, when I got married the first time I dropped my maiden name, which I love, and just went by his last name. When we got divorced I made sure to get my maiden back legally. (To hell with his name. HELL!) When I got married the second time I was adamant about keeping my maiden name only. But my new husband didn’t want to go for that. So I caved to what he wanted and dropped my maiden name (again!) for him.… Read more »

YetAnotherAmy
Guest
YetAnotherAmy

I go by my middle name, so I’ve never been able to decide what I’ll do when I get married (if that ever happens). Has anyone else dealt with this issue?

law4478
Guest
law4478

I got married about 2 1/2 years ago and I opted to hyphenate. This is something I kind of regret on occasion, only because it is a pain in the ass sometimes. Spelling it out constantly, including the hyphen and then it still gets messed up on a regular basis. Anyway, I use First Middle Maiden-Married or First Maiden-Married. When making the big name change decision, I personally considered either keeping only my maiden name or the hyphenated option. I didn’t want to give up my old name entirely because it didn’t feel right after being known this way for… Read more »

phdivine
Guest
phdivine

I felt attached to my middle name and my maiden name, so I went with First Middle Maiden Married. My new middle name is Middle Maiden, so I have 2 middle initials. It occasionally causes issues when people stop reading at the third name, but in general I think it has worked incredibly well and lets me hold on to all my names and share my husband’s. And I do have advanced degrees and publications and this has caused no problems. Plus people seem amused by all the names, so sometimes my friends call me by all four at once.… Read more »

Mary
Guest

Oh, and I forgot to mention my friend’s option, which I don’t see here yet. She wanted to keep her name, but also include her husband’s name. So she is Shelley Hisname Hername. No hyphen, and she uses all three.

Teeny225
Guest
Teeny225

I got married a month ago and ever since we got engaged I’ve been debating this same issue. I had a few different reasons for not wanting to take my fiance’s name – the primary one for me was that I didn’t want to give up my maiden name and feel less of a connection to my dad (who passed away a couple of years ago which made it even harder to contemplate giving up my family name). I also didn’t see why I should be the one to have to change my name, when my fiance openly admitted that… Read more »

J.W.Oeffner
Guest
J.W.Oeffner

First of all, let me say that the number of attorneys commenting on here makes me smile. I’m a second year law student, and quite glad that I won’t have to give up my guilty amalah pleasures upon graduation : ). This is interesting because my middle name IS my mom’s maiden name, and it’s not pretty. (I do however, prefer it this way, rather than hyphenated). I have one sister and don’t want our lastname to die out. However, mom was one of 3 girls and I don’t want to lose her name either. To add to this, it’s… Read more »

Colleen
Guest

I kept my full name, but legally changed it so that I have two middle names…my actual middle name and my maiden name. My last name is my husband’s. So when I sign my legal name is Colleen MiddleInitial Maiden Initial MarriedName. I just couldn’t give up my middle or my maiden name. Of course my driver’s license looks a mess because they insist (at least in Virginia) on putting all four of my names in full…no abbreviations.

Meredith
Guest
Meredith

I have to brag about my hubby. (I’ve been married for 13 years, so this doesn’t happen so much anymore!!) We got married young (I was 22, he was 23), and while I was still mulling the whole name thing over (I did graduate from a bastion of feminism – ie a women’s college), he told me that since he wouldn’t want to be asked to change his name, he couldn’t possibly see expecting me to change mine. (You all should probably know that I asked him to marry me – 3 weeks after I met him – but that… Read more »

lepetitchic
Guest

Oooh, I had to chime in on this one. I got married last year and changed my name to Katie Maiden Married. It was really tough for me for several reasons. 1) My middle name was a shortened version of my mother’s first name so I felt like I was abandoning her. 2) I love my maiden name and all of my college buddies simply call me “Maiden Name”. 3) My maiden name is an easy to pronounce, one syllable, 5 letter name. My married name is a difficult to pronounce, kind of ugly sounding, 3 syllable, 10 letter name.… Read more »

cledbo
Guest
cledbo

I love love love that so many laaaadies here made their own sensible choices regarding lastnameage. Not that long ago in the newspaper a pregnant columnist wrote that she managed to open a colossal can of worms by declaring that she was considering naming any daughter with her last name and any son with her husband’s. The hate mail! The vehemence! She reckoned some people acted like she’d said she was going to sacrifice her unborn child to demons or something. Nice to see the whole world isn’t like that. Cos that’s just dumb. Anyway, while I’m not getting married… Read more »

Karen S
Guest
Karen S

I married at the age of 25, and had no plans at all to take my husband’s name. Partly because his surname is horrid and my maiden name is nice, but mostly because my feminist principles made me feel very uneasy about changing MY name. A very kind aunt gave us a large cheque as a wedding gift, made out to us both as ‘Mr & Mrs Married’ (the British conformist convention). We’d had a joint account at a bank for years (where the cashiers knew me well), so I presented the cheque for deposit, along with our marriage certificate,… Read more »

portia
Guest

Belatedly, thank you all very much. Reading your experiences got me over a ‘But what do I dooooo?!’ hump that was annoying me, my boyfriend, and everyone I know. Short version: I’m 30. I got married at 18, took Hisname. We have a 12 year old daughter. I started law school last year. We got divorced. I can’t keep Hisname, because it’s a homonym of “lawyer.” And I can’t take Boyfriend’s name, because I use my middle initial and my middle initial plus BFName is a kind of steak. And I think it would be unfair to my daughter for… Read more »

Lorraine
Guest

My husband took my last name.