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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

How do you change your name?

If you are a teacher, changing your name is very difficult during the school year. I can recall every teacher I ever had who changed their name after they married. Can you? I have many friends who seem to maintain two identities: their professional name pre marriage and their married name. Unfortunately in our district emails invariably revert twice a year back to maiden names and teachers must go through procedures to get the changes re-instated.

In addition to changing driver’s licenses, you must get new social security cards, fill out ten pages of forms (okay, maybe just 4), copy your marriage certificates, and sign away your first born child to change your name after marriage. Adding a spouse to your health insurance is easy-peasy… getting emails changed is a nightmare.

I have been Diane Renee Ritts Chen for 26 years. That’s a LONNNNNNG time in my life. Suddenly I am Mrs. Kelly. I finally changed my facebook name today, but I cried when Ken asked me to change it on some other pages. I feel like no one will know who I am or identify my new name with my previous writings and experiences. We tried several google searches and I showed how DianeRChen pops up in many places but Diane R Kelly only popped up on facebook.

How did those of you who changed your names after you married cope? Did you have identity crises? I wonder about our students who travel through multiple marriages and adoptions. How do they cope with name changes? Are there any books out there about this?


  1. I, too, and struggling with changing my name (or not). I’m getting married this summer, so before next school year I have to make a decision. Our district requires that “officially” I use my legal name, so I’m not really given a choice there.
    Still, I understand what you’re saying about your professional life being tied to your maiden name. I’ve given thought to changing my legal name to include my maiden name as my middle name, and dropping my current middle name. It’s not perfect, nor the solution I like best. I considered hyphenating, but my name would be insanely long, and I don’t want to spend that much time signing my name the rest of my life. I also considered NOT changing it at all. So I still haven’t completely decided yet.
    In general, I think the decision can depend a lot on your feelings, your sense of identity (and how closely it’s tied to your name), and your relationship with your spouse. Our culture may expect you to change your name, but in my opinion, it’s really a very personal decision that only you can make. I’m very interested to see what others say to this post.