My Surreal Life

My Musings, My Thoughts & My Ponderings

What’s in a name?

A name is defined as

A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to. (n)

When a child is born, they are given a name. Nobody questions this & they are forever with this name.  On the odd occasion, individuals may change that name but in the vast majority of cases its with you until death.  The same however, can’t be said for a surname.  It is defined as

A hereditary name common to all members of a family, as distinct from a given name. (n)

When two individuals get married, in era’s gone by the norm was for the woman to take the mans surname without hesitation.  Today its not such the norm, people can combine the husband and wife via a double-barrel method (e.g. Smith-Quinn) or make up an entirely new surname as Dawn Porter did when she married Chris O’Dowd (Dawn O’Porter) .  This is all well and good for those that are less traditional, however, when children come in to the mix before or after marriage things aren’t so easy.

When a child is born and the birth certificate is signed, you give the child a first name and a surname, if you are married the surname generally matches the fathers family name, or perhaps if the mother has chosen a double-barrel then the child gets this. As long as the couple stays together this is no problem. However if divorce is a life event then naming conventions take on a whole new meaning and can be the cause of great disrespect in the long term particularly in the case of children.  Similarly the case would be similar for surnames given to children born out of wedlock and the subsequent breakdown of the marriage.

Recently discussions with other StepMoms have informed me that some of their BioMoms (i.e. their Husbands ex-Wives) are still using their Husbands surname.  To me that’s completely a unnatural thing to do, in the length of time it takes for a divorce to be finalised your surname should revert immediately to your maiden name.  In reality you have no claim over that name anymore, if you wanted to keep using the name then you should have stayed in your marriage. It would not be something I would ever keep, and if i happened to remarry then I would take my husbands name because I am a traditionalist. In my opinion, I take my husbands name as I am his wife, I respect my role as a wife and the family unit we are.  I am committed completely to him, that’s what marriage is about to me and taking his name is a public acknowledgement and reflection of that in my eyes. If things are to end I would remove his name, because that is not the family I am a part of anymore.

Where children are concerned it can get very messy particularly as they get older. My StepChildren were born out of wedlock (thank God for small mercies) and on their birth certs, all three have a double-barrel surname with my husbands name first. Therefore, legally that is their full name, and they should be registered in school as such and their name should be written as such.  Since the breakdown of their relationship and I do believe since all the children went to school, they have just been called BioMoms surname.  This infuriates me to no end because I think it shows a total lack of respect to the childrens father.  This is my opinion for anyone in a similar situation to me. If you bothered enough to name your child after their father when you are together, then you have absolutely no right to omit it just because it suits you as a bitter ex.  I insist on writing the childrens double-barrel name on all correspondence with their school as that is their name. I find it insulting to the children to automatically remove a fundamental link to their father.

Until the age a child can themselves requested a Deed Poll change of surname through the courts, they should be addressed as they were legally named. Irrespective of the state of their parental relationship, they are still family to both BioMom & BioDad. Clearly there is cases to be made for sever situations domestic violence, capital crimes, drugs etc. but these situations are not the norm. A child in most cases has two willing participating parents, allowing one to make sure a fundamental change isn’t right, it isn’t respectful to the other parent and in reality, I believe, it belittles the role of the other parent.

Personally, sometimes I feel it comes down a lot on the side of the way families, relationships and children are created in these modern times.  People create children and relationships thinking nothing will go wrong & things will never fail.  They don’t need marriage and they can be as contemporary as they like because they will survive. The reality isn’t this fairytale unfortunately. Perhaps is only as a StepMom I can see this, and see what relationship breakdown has done.  Perhaps its because locally to me there are more broken relationships, unknown fathers, battling ex’s, half-step families, divorces and bitter bitter BioMoms then there are happy marriage couples with children.  I see not only what happens in my family but also what happens in the families of those around me. Its very very worrying to be completely honest.  But a surname given to a child is loaded with weight both positive and negative and in a situation where the child is living in a blended family they need to understand the meaning behind their name, and a reason to be proud of their background.


One comment on “What’s in a name?

  1. blendermom3
    August 16, 2013

    I have been on both sides of this name thing. After my 1st divorce I kept my name to draw less attention for my daughter’s sake to have the same last name; less looks and judgement. But now in my 3rd & final marriage I dropped to my maiden middle name & my husband’s surname. It is what it is. However, my husband’s ex wife remarried almost immediately but refused to change her name for nearly a year and kept my hubs name! She even lied about it when she was asked esp lying to her husband that it takes over 6 mos for social security office to change it on her ss card to make it official!! LOL!! It irritated us because it made no sense & just made her look crazy! So I am in agreement with you….it is a big deal!! Great post….

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This entry was posted on August 15, 2013 by in Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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