‘I am livid that my husband’s ex-wife nonetheless goes by his identify. Is she nonetheless in love with him?’ 5 divorced writers sort out the query of when – and if – it is best to hand over your husband’s identify after you cut up

‘I am livid that my husband’s ex-wife nonetheless goes by his identify. Is she nonetheless in love with him?’ 5 divorced writers sort out the query of when – and if – it is best to hand over your husband’s identify after you cut up

Whether or not you are taking your husband’s identify or not is turning into an more and more controversial difficulty for brides-to-be — who’ve to think about each their ­feminist rules and the ­potential wrath of their betrothed (and new in-laws).

However with greater than 4 in ten marriages now ending in divorce, there’s one other conundrum to think about; for those who did take your husband’s surname, at what level do you give it up?

Samantha Brick, Liz Hodgkinson, Emma Parsons-Reid, Flic Everett and Tess Stimson

Spice Girl Geri Halliwell changed her name to Horner when she wed Formula1 boss Christian

Spice Lady Geri Halliwell modified her identify to Horner when she wed Formula1 boss Christian

Spice Lady Geri drew consideration to the difficulty this month when she referred to herself by her maiden identify ‘Halliwell’ in a promotional movie for Dior. The transfer got here months after her husband, Method 1 boss Christian Horner — whose surname she adopted once they ­married in 2015 — was accused of inappropriate behaviour by a Pink Bull worker, an allegation that was dismissed in February. So what sign does altering your identify ship, and when is the fitting time to do it? As quickly as you determine to separate? As soon as the divorce is finalised? Or, is it now ‘your’ identify, and nothing will take it from you?

Right here, 5 divorced writers share their tales . . .


Author Samantha Brick lives together with her second husband Pascal. They’ve been married for 17 years.

Rising up with my surname meant I needed to develop thick pores and skin. Belief me, I’ve heard all of the funnies about Brick.

But in my 20s and dealing within the TV business, I lastly realised what a present it was. It’s distinctive, making me fairly unforgettable, too. So after I married for the primary time aged 31, my intuition was to not take my husband’s identify.

But I’ve at all times been a daddy’s woman. When he stated he thought I should tackle my former ­husband’s surname out of ­custom, I did.

And boy, I want I hadn’t. By the point I’d modified my identify on all important official paperwork (and sure, it took greater than a yr), I used to be trotting out of the wedding and needed to change it again once more — and pay for the privilege. What a palaver that was.

I genuinely consider no lady ought to retain her former ­husband’s surname, regardless of how lengthy the marital union. Please! Have some self-respect and keep in mind you have been a ­full lady earlier than you walked down the aisle, and you’ll be once more. And but right here I’m, married for a second time, utilizing my French husband’s identify, Rubinat, in on a regular basis life.

I accomplish that just because right here in France it means I’m handled as an equal. I do know, what century are we in? But utilizing it means I ­garner extra respect as a married lady — and keep away from being met with the same old suspicion afforded to expats that an Anglo-Saxon identify would generate.

Plus, being my husband’s third spouse — and ten years youthful than him — utilizing my marital identify as quickly I’d stated ‘I do’ rubbed out all notions of me being some kind of flighty blow-in.

However Brick nonetheless looms massive in my skilled life and can ­completely be on my headstone. If I’d been fortunate sufficient to have youngsters, I’d have pressured the significance of constant my household identify.

In Europe most households tackle each mother and father’ surnames — and it’s a convention Britain ought to undertake tout de suite.

'It was too painful to keep his name, it reminded me of everything that had gone wrong'

‘It was too painful to maintain his identify, it jogged my memory of the whole lot that had gone fallacious’


Author Liz Hodgkinson is divorced. At the moment single, she has two sons.

In 1988, after I separated from my husband after 23 years collectively, I naturally wished to take away all traces of the wedding and begin once more.

One factor I used to be significantly eager to do was to revert to my authentic identify, Garrett. But it surely was to not be.

By this time I used to be fairly effectively referred to as a author, and editors threw up their palms in horror after I ­urged it, stating that no one would know who I used to be. ­Married at 21, I had used it for my complete working life.

Ultimately I succumbed and, ­reluctantly, retained my husband’s identify, which I do to at the present time. My one, considerably pathetic, concession to singlehood was to vary my deal with from ‘Mrs’ to ‘Miss’ on all official paperwork.

Now, greater than 35 years after the divorce, I’ve carried my ex-husband’s surname for a lot longer than I carried my very own — and I ­bitterly remorse not holding my floor.

Again then, individuals would quickly have gotten used to my new appellation. But now, when it actually is just too late to vary it, the identify nonetheless feels grafted on, barely alien and never reflecting my present id.

When our sons have been little, it was handy for us all to have the identical identify, however they’re now of their 50s, with grownup youngsters of their very own.

Hodgkinson, I really feel, belongs to my distant previous, not my current. In the present day, I’ve no specific connection to my ex, but I’ve this lingering, and ever-potent, reminder that we have been as soon as hooked up.

Had I ever remarried, I’d ­actually not have modified my identify a second time.

What if my ex had remarried, you might ask? Nicely, given we cut up as a result of he devoted himself to the non secular life, there was by no means even the tiniest spectre of there being two Mrs ­Neville Hodgkinsons.

To at the present time, I envy my feminine buddies who have been wise sufficient to hold on to their maiden names by way of thick and skinny. I applaud my two daughters-in-law, who’ve stored their beginning names —and by no means even thought of altering them.


Emma Parsons-Reid lives with third husband Kevin, who has been married as soon as earlier than. She has one daughter from her first marriage.

On marrying my third husband Kevin in 2006, I selected to double-­barrel his surname with my very own.

What I didn’t know then was that his ex-wife had stored his identify. I solely came upon when my daughter occurred to look her up on social media. Suffice to say, I wasn’t happy that she bore my ­husband’s identify.

Sure, they have been married for 17 years, however she was the one who left him. Why would you need to cling on on this manner? Particularly given they didn’t have youngsters, so it’s not like she was doing it in an effort to have the identical identify as her youngsters, nor was she a excessive flyer within the company world.

There was no want to remain latched on to him on this manner; it simply offers the world the ­impression you might be nonetheless in love together with your ex. I can’t fathom it.

In the present day, 18 years on from mine and Kevin’s wedding ceremony, it makes me furious that she remains to be — 24 years after they cut up — utilizing what’s my rightful identify.

'Within weeks of our separation I applied for a new passport in my maiden name'

‘Inside weeks of our separation I utilized for a brand new passport in my maiden identify’

If she lived miles away then ­maybe I’d thoughts much less. However as all of us reside in the identical small Welsh city, I can’t assist however really feel prefer it’s a reminder that she was with him first.

I actually by no means countenanced retaining both of my ex-husbands’ names.

I married my first aged 21 and double-barrelled our names. The place I reside it’s the norm to take in your husband’s surname, however I’ve at all times stored Parsons as a result of I didn’t need to fully hand over my id.

Plus, the double barrel units me other than everybody else. As a result of it’s a bit posh-sounding, individuals do deal with you with a little bit of ­deference; I do get higher service in every single place.

My second husband had a ­ridiculously lengthy surname. Sadly Emma Parsons-Chamberlain wasn’t going to clean (I’d by no means get it on a cheque) and that point round I dropped Parsons.

But on each events, after we divorced I went again to Parsons the identical day. In any case, his ­surname would belong to his subsequent spouse. I’m no hypocrite!


Writer Flic Everett lives together with her third husband Andy and has one baby from her first marriage.

I often is the first married lady to vary my identify as a result of ­­the brand new one makes me snicker. ­‘Felicity Bowden-Smith’ is unquestionably a girl who rides to hounds, bellows at gundogs and invitations the vicar for a spot of sherry.

It’s not me, a journalist who used to go clubbing until 5am. However since I married my third (and final) husband Andy, in Might 2022, it’s technically my id.

But, jokes apart, my selecting to take Andy’s identify is especially important. For although that is my third marriage, it’s the primary time I’ve taken a husband’s identify.

I launched into my first marriage aged simply 21. My profession as a author was starting and, as a fiery younger feminist, I didn’t need to change my identify to my ­husband’s. I like my very own, and he didn’t object (maybe he didn’t dare).

Nonetheless, to point out prepared, I did change it for banking functions, a call that brought about no finish of administrative trouble after we cut up up three years later.

I reverted to ‘Everett’ for ­the whole lot as quickly as we broke up, and was glad to be ­sustaining the household identify (I’m an solely baby and my son has his dad’s surname).

Once I married once more, aged 29, I nonetheless had no intention of adjusting my identify. For the 18 years we have been collectively I remained ­Everett, and assumed I’d maintain it for ever.

Once we broke up, I used to be so relieved to have stored it — no less than that was one factor I didn’t have to fret about altering.

However having met Andy in my 40s, it appeared odd for us to have completely different surnames for the sake of it. I’m nonetheless a feminist, in fact, however I not see a name-change as giving in to the patriarchy. It’s extra about being a unit.

I wished to be a household with him, reasonably than a pair of ­people who share a home. We’d been collectively for eight years earlier than we married and I felt ­having the identical identify would full our later-life union.

So I made a decision on a compromise: I’ll keep Everett for work, and go full Woman of the Manor double-barrelled for personal issues.

I’ve no regrets — though it’s maybe a call greatest made in later life, while you’re fairly positive the wedding will go the gap.

  • Homicide on Stage by F.L. Everett (£9.99, Bookouture) is out now.


Writer Tess Stimson is divorced from her first husband, with whom she has two sons. She now lives with her second husband.

Once I married my first husband, Brent Sadler, I didn’t need to change my identify to his. Partly as a result of he’d been married twice earlier than — I didn’t need to turn into the third Mrs Sadler — and partly as a result of I’d already revealed my first novel below my maiden identify.

I used to be pleased with that achievement and didn’t need my id ­swallowed by his. However I did need to carry my ­husband’s identify ultimately, as a result of I used to be additionally pleased with being his spouse.

So I modified my surname to ­Stimson Sadler (no hyphen, too clumsy). Six years later, when Brent and I separated, I instantly dropped his identify once more.

I didn’t look forward to the divorce, which wasn’t finalised for an additional two years. Brent had already moved in together with his new girlfriend and, each time I noticed his identify written subsequent to mine on my financial institution assertion or bank card, it was like a stab to the center.

To me, my husband’s identify was half and parcel of being married to him and it was simply too painful to maintain utilizing it. It jogged my memory of ­the whole lot I’d misplaced.

And it felt like a lie after we have been not collectively. Names imply one thing and my married identify was now a hole sham.

Inside weeks of our separation I contacted the financial institution, up to date my medical information, and utilized for a brand new passport in my maiden identify.

In a whirlwind of grief, I threw out the whole lot that jogged my memory of him, together with his identify. Now I want I’d dealt with our break-up higher — however, on the time, I simply felt so betrayed and indignant. Once I married my second ­husband, I didn’t even think about ­taking his identify.

I perceive why some girls select to maintain their married names. However actually, I couldn’t wait to ­jettison mine. Like the person himself, it had by no means actually belonged to me, and I used to be happier off with out it.

  • The New Home by Tess Stimson (£9.99, HarperCollins) is out now.

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