It’s a simple thing that happens every day. People get married, and when they do, one party takes the other one’s last name, symbolizing their family unity. Sometimes people choose to do things differently though. Some women keep their maiden name, while others retain it while hyphenating it with their new last name.
My wife Abby and I decided to do something a little different and come up with an entirely new last name, The conversation went something like this:
H: “We should come up with a new last name, and combine ours.”
M: “That’s a great idea. What did you have in mind?”
H: “I don’t know. Let’s try some.”
Then the hilarity began. I mean, how do you combine Lambert and Morehouse without making something that sounds, well, awful?
H: “Lambhouse? Nope, sounds like a slaughterhouse.”
M: “I like it.” (Thriller author, cool ass name, bro, Plus, Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut? What could be better?)
H: “No, our last name should not be scary. Morebert?”
M: “Just ew. How about Berthouse?”
H: “Sounds like a Sesame Street spin off.”
M: “Morelamb. That one makes me hungry.”
H: “Our name is not going to be a dinner request. How about Bertmore?”
M: “Not too bad. Bertmore. I like it.”
So we kicked it around, and it stuck. However, life also happened. Our July wedding moved to March, Abby had an emergency surgery in February, and we were frazzled, financially strapped, and stressed out. So we really didn’t clearly research of think through HOW to change both of our names.
See, here’s the deal. Either party can change their last name to that of the person they are marrying, provided at least one of those names is on the marriage certificate. But you can’t both change your name to something else without going through the legal name change. Ideally one of us would have changed our names before the wedding, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know, and we certainly didn’t have the bandwidth or the finances to take care of it either.
So we discovered how much it would cost. Court filings, $160. Each. Running your ad in the legals to tell the world (and any creditors or anyone else who would object to the name change) that you are changing your name for good? $130. Each. Both of us having a new name all our own? Priceless.
On November 15th, we stood before a judge, and became officially the Bertmores, about 8 months after our wedding, which is perhaps another story for another day.
It’s a different feeling, having a new last name. Standing in front of the judge felt good, peaceful. We both feel even more united, more solid as a couple.
Or course now begins the process of changing our names on literally everything. Social Security Card, Driver’s License, debit cards, payroll, car registrations.
I’ll be keeping Lambert as my nom de plume for writing, so my books will not be changing, and you may see me sporting the hyphen some places, just so people are not confused too much.
We’ve become the Bertmores. The process started in March, and is now complete. So if you see us slowing down to sign our names that’s why.
Troy is a freelance writer, author, and blogger who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho with the love of his life and three very talented dogs.
Passionate about writing dark psychological thrillers, he is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, all-around outdoorsman, and a terrible beginning golfer.