Maiden and married names

When a person (traditionally the wife in many cultures) assumes the family name of their spouse, in some countries that name replaces the person's previous surname, which in the case of the wife is called the maiden name ("birth name" is also used as a gender-neutral or masculine substitute for maiden name), whereas a married name is a family name or surname adopted by a person upon marriage.

In some jurisdictions, changing names requires a legal process. When people marry or divorce, the legal aspects of changing names may be simplified or included, so that the new name is established as part of the legal process of marrying or divorcing. Traditionally, in the Anglophone West, women are far more likely to change their surnames upon marriage than men, but in some instances men may change their last names upon marriage as well, including same-sex couples.[1]

In this article, birth name, family name, surname, married name and maiden name refer to patrilineal surnames unless explicitly described as referring to matrilineal surnames.


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