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Can a Woman Keep her Surname after Marriage?

Adopting a new surnameHistorically, the expectation and indeed the norm was that a woman would assume the husband’s surname after marriage. Women did not even think twice about assuming her husband’s surname after marriage. As times are changing keeping the maiden name hyphenated with the husband’s surname is apparently a fad. Both in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages these days there isn’t any hard and fast rule anymore that the wife must assume the surname of her husband. It’s a moot point that modern married women who may be working professionals having to change their surnames by assuming their husband’s surname. Rather keeping their surnames after marriage maybe is a practical and rational choice rather than a compulsion based on custom.Undeniably assuming the husband’s surname after marriage is indeed a lot of hassle in the sense that married women have to change their surnames on all of their government IDs including Aadhar card, PAN card, Voter ID so on and so forth which women of this day and age intend to avoid. Women could not voice their opinion probably until a few decades ago. They were more docile as men played a dominant role in society. They had to submit to the diktats of custom or tradition. With times changing though, these days both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages have several options and they are as follows:Women can assume the last name of their husbands Women can keep their maiden namesThe maiden name of a wife can be hyphenated along with the surname of the husbandA new surname that is a fusion of the surnames of both the spouses could be created and can be used by both spousesSpouses may prefer keeping their own surnames but their children’s surnames can be hyphenated The run-up to marriage is fraught with making decisions. There are numerous decisions on the anvil namely the color scheme, the food, and the venue. Decisions need to be made after the marriage as well. One of those vital decisions to be made is whether or not the woman would assume the surname of her husband or keep her maiden name after marriage. Recent reports indicate that a vast majority of brides tend to take the husband’s surname after marriage while the remaining opt to either retain their maiden name or opt to hyphenate which is the case for same-sex couples as well. A survey revealed that female couples more than their male counterparts preferred to assume the name of their male spouse after marriage.The question invariably is whether a name change is right or wrong. There isn’t a right answer working for everyone and one has to consider several aspects to assume the name of one’s partner.Name Change through Common UsageIt's entirely the discretion of the wife as to whether or not the wife would assume the surname of her husband. However, if the wife decides on changing his/her surname one can through “common usage” fairly easily. The wife historically had this option of adopting her husband’s surname.Although common usage name changes in instances of same-sex marriages, ought to be valid, however as same-sex marriage adds a relatively new dimension to marital bonding, one may have to get a name change ordered by the court.For legal validation of a name change by applying the common usage method the steps to follow are:A copy of one’s marriage certificate as proof of name changeAn updated driver’s license against a copy of one’s marriage certificateGet a new Aadhar card/PAN card/Voter ID card with one’s new surname against one’s marriage certificate, andUpdating any bank, insurance, passport, or employer records against one’s marriage certificateThis process can be completed relatively easily if the new surname after marriage reflects on one’s marriage certificate. If one already has children or having children is in the works then one might as well change one’s name so as to have a single-family name for all family members. However, if a new surname different from the surname of the other spouse is to be used by a spouse, the spouse intending a name change would have to undergo the official name change ordered by the court. If there is malafide intention of committing fraud or concealing an identity then a name change is undesirable and can be prevented in some jurisdictions.Name Change through a Court OrderA court-ordered name change in comparison with the common usage name change though is complicated is by far simpler to complete. In the vast majority of cases, a request for a name change has to be submitted along with an order proposal to be reviewed and signed by a judge.In all likelihood, a judge may set a date for the hearing of one’s case ensuring that one's request for the name change is not, in fact, a malafide intention of committing fraud.  Once the order has been received with one’s request granted, one has to undergo the common usage process for changing one’s name on one’s driver’s license, Aadhar Card, PAN Card and Voter ID card. ?Rather than provide a copy of one’s marriage certificate, submitting the certified copy of the name change court order is the requirement. If you need any professional advice, speak to an expert lawyer on a name change after marriage at Vidhikarya.

Posted By

Avik Chakravorty

4 days ago


SUCCESSION CERTIFICATEIn this blog I shall be discussing the detailed procedure by following which one can obtain a Succession Certificate. My blog shall contain the following contents in chronological order. 1.   What is a Succession Certificate?2.   Who may obtain a Succession Certificate?3.   What is the procedure for obtaining Succession Certificate?4.   Particulars which must be included in the petition for a Succession Certificate5.   Miscellaneous Topics WHAT IS A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE?A Succession Certificate is a written document which is given to the legal heir/heirs of a person who at that point of time is no more alive [In other words – Deceased] without creating or making any will, [in other words – Intestate]. This certificate is issued by a District Judge so as to let the successors inherit all the debts and securities of the person against whom the applicant wants a succession certificate [In this case – The Deceased]. WHO MAY OBTAIN A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE?Generally, the class I legal heirs of the deceased person can apply for the grant of succession certificate. WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATE?The legal process to be followed to obtain a succession certificate are mentioned below and should be followed in a chronological order as mentioned. They are: -1.     The person who wants the certificate must prepare a petition, verify and sign it and thereafter submit it to the court of the District judge of the appropriate jurisdiction after paying the proper court fee. [The court fee on the petition is Rs. 125/-]2.     After this the District Judge is required to inspect the application made by the applicant and decide whether such application is admissible or not. 3.     If the District Judge find the application fit and admissible, the judge shall thereafter fix a date for the hearing of the above-mentioned petition and also send notice of this hearing to all those people which he thinks necessary. 4.     After the hearing, if the judge is satisfied that the applicant has his right to apply for such succession certificate, he shall thereafter grant the certificate. [A fee is levied on the property value of the deceased, the maximum cap of which is RS. 50,000/-]5.      The district judge shall also require the person making such application to provide a bond with either one or more sureties or any other security to make good any possible loss which might arise out of the use or misuse of such certificate.PARTICULARS WHICH MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE PETITION OF A SUCCESSION CERTIFICATEThe following particulars must be included in the petition of the Succession Certificate. They are: -The proper and accurate time of the death of the deceased person in question.The ordinary place of residence of the deceased person at such time of death. If such ordinary place of residence is not available, then, details of the property which are within the local jurisdiction of the district judge to whom such application is made.The details of the family members and/or other near relatives of the deceased person and their respective residence address in full.The rights of the petitioner as is sought for. The absence of any reason to invalidate the grant of the certificateThe debts and securities in respect of which the application is madeMISCELLANEOUS TOPICS1.     The court may extend the Succession Certificate to the property which is later found out to be belonging to the deceased which was not known to the applicant who had previously applied for the grant of such succession certificate and had no clue about such the existence or non-existence of such property which had been later brought into light and known to the applicant. 2.     Once a Succession Certificate is granted by the District Judge, then it is valid all across India and needs not to be renewed. However, if the same is granted in a foreign land by an Indian Representative of that State, then it must be properly stamped in compliance with the Court Fees Act, 1870 to have the same value. 3.     It takes roughly around 7 to 8 months for the grant of Succession Certificate by the court [Provided it is not contested]. However, if the same is contested it may take a longer period of time. 4.     The grant of this certificate does not make the holder the actual owner of the property of the deceased but it merely gives nominee rights to the person, I.E. The holder of this certificate shall have the power to distribute the assets of the deceased person in question. 5.     No Succession Certificate is granted in cases where                               I.           A probate or LOA [Letter of Administration] is necessary     OR                             II.           Where there is a valid will.  

Posted By

Shreyash Mohta

2 months ago

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