After much polling of other newly married friends, I nodded to tradition and changed my name, sort of. So, one afternoon with a toddler in tow, I went back to the Social Security office and changed my name a second time. But something gnawed at me, as I signed the paperwork while my son drew on himself with a pen stolen from my purse. I had succumbed to a naming tradition called Coverture which dates back to medieval England, that effectively enslaved women for thousands of years. Giving up my name felt akin to giving up a room of my own, something Virginia Woolf had taught me not to do. I was shocked when my lawyer, very early on in the divorce process asked, "What do you want your last name to be?" Of all the things I was dealing with in the divorce, my last name was the last thing on the list. I've contemplated changing my name back to McCarthy, but to return to my maiden name would be a return to my childhood which feels like going backwards.
I've also contemplated choosing a last name as if I was picking out a new dress from the racks at Bloomingdales.
Inevitably, at those dinner parties someone will ask, "Don't you want to have the same last name as your children?" That question always takes my breath away.
Most folks begin using our name change service even before they get their marriage license.

Spending hours tracking down name change forms, filing instructions, and procedures is a horrible way to spend your day. Answer a few basic questions about yourself, such as your new married name, age, address, etc. Click the "Generate Forms" button and our online software will merge your answers with the proper PDF name change forms.
Download and print the completed PDF documents that our software creates, customizes, and validates specifically for you. But after college, it worked on a blue-eyed wonder, with a soft smile and a mind full of romantic ideas. I decided to drop Kathleen, a middle name I loved, and replace it with McCarthy, and take his last name, Gibbon.
I was pushing something I wanted down, deep inside, into that place where so many things women want get pushed and left to die.
And I did so, despite all the feminist history I studied in college and graduate school (I knew that in several U.S. After 12 years of marriage, and two more children, my husband and I separated and filed for divorce. I'm happily engaged and even more confused about 'the problem' that has become my last name.

She has to give up, at least part of the time, the most unimaginable thing of all for a mother -- her children.
Rather than spending hours doing it later, they prefer to quickly get the necessary forms filled out now and out of the way. I let go of my Irish surname and went from under my father's wing to my husband's out-stretched hand. I retained the name Gibbon and laughed for the first time in a long time when the judge told me I wasn't allowed to marry again for 90 days.
I will admit, I've doodled the name Nell Hall on scraps of paper like a 16 year old girl, but can a woman change her name to her fiance's name without being married? A feme covert had no rights to legal property as she was theoretically her husband's property, "covered" by him; made invisible under the eyes of the law.

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