Speaking of name changes…

Prompted by this article in the Sunday Star Times: “Identity Crisis”. The article speaks of various “criminal types and ne’er do wells” who are taking advantage of the relative ease with which one can change a name to wriggle out of legal and moral obligations.

…Of course, police usually get to the bottom of a person’s true identity using fingerprint or DNA technology, and they can also request birth records held by the Department of Internal Affairs.
But there are cases where a person slips between the cracks. In 2006, Nelson woman Debbie Ashton, 20, was killed when a speeding car driven by Jonathan Allan Barclay smashed into her vehicle. Barclay was on the police witness protection programme and had been given a new identity.Two months before the smash, Barclay appeared in court under his old name, was disqualified from driving for 18 months and was warned he would go to jail if he offended again. A few weeks later he appeared in court again, this time using his new name, and was fined for drunk driving as a first offender.

to cite just one example of many in the article.

Which has almost nothing to do with wedding planning, except where it does. Although there is no requirement for a bride or groom to go through the process of making a formal application in order to change their surname once married, if the proposed tightening of regulations around changes of name may have some impact.

Interesting, if random statistics about name changing in NZ:

Changing your name is simple, so much so that one person did it 17 times, according to official records. Name changes are no longer done by deed poll – since 1995 they have been done by making a statutory declaration. A New Zealand-born citizen over 18 simply has to fill out a form available on the Department of Internal Affairs website and sign it, witnessed by a lawyer, JP, notary or registrar. At that point, the name is changed.
The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act does not require people wanting to change their name to indicate their reasons, and criminal records are not taken into account. To have the name registered, the applicant pays $125 and sends the form to Births, Deaths and Marriages, and for another $26 is issued an updated birth certificate, which records the birth name and the new name.The act sets out the conditions under which the registrar-general can disclose the change of name to other agencies. Police can request it to help with investigations, and the Ministry of Social Development, which deals with beneficiaries, can access birth records, which show any name changes. Other government agencies, such as the departments of health and education, may also apply to access the information.Statistics show that since records began in 1848, there have been 143,336 recorded name changes (this does not include people whose name changes because of marriage, those changes are recorded on the marriage register). Of those, 136,128 people changed their name just once. Another 6489 people changed their name twice, and 567 people changed three times.

edit to add this comment via Facebook: Kari M Coykendall-Millard: One thing you should remind people is that when they change their name, please remember to write out their whole names. I accidentally changed my middle name to the letter M when I got married and didn’t fill out the paperwork completely. 😛

A Bride by Any Other Name…

The decision whether to change your name after your marriage is a very personal one. For some, there’s no question, for others, the decision is not quite so clear-cut. The good news is that you don’t actually have to decide straight away. You have a window of some months after the wedding to try it on for size and see how it fits.
It’s traditional for a bride to take her new husband’s surname, but it is equally valid for the groom to take the bride’s surname – sometimes it may depend on what name your children already use.
Changing your maiden name or taking your husband’s name aren’t the only two options open to you.
Hyphenating your names may work. Unless someone a generation or two back already did that, and you’d end up being Mr & Mrs Hyphen Hyphen Name.
Many women are choosing to keep their maiden name at work, and their husband’s name for social and family purposes, or use their maiden name as an extra middle name.
Or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there’s no real reason why you can’t both ditch your single names and re-brand with a whole new name. It’s best to legally back up an unconventional name change by making a statutory declaration through Births Deaths and Marriages.
Things to consider before deciding whether or not to change your surname:
Does you or your fiance have strong feelings either way? Is the surname one you particularly like, or dislike? Are you the last of the line bearing your surname? Is one name uncommon or unwieldy? Does the surname reflect your culture or ethnic heritage? Is it important to you to be easily identified as “belonging” together?
If you opt for a change, particularly for an uncommon change, be aware that friends and family may have views on the subject, and will quite likely tell them to you. In the end, it’s your name, your choice. As long as you’re both happy with your decision, that’s all that matters.

If you’re changing your name from your wedding date, and plan to travel overseas for your honeymoon, make sure you book your tickets in the name that is on your passport, and use that name while you’re travelling, to save confusion and potential unnecessary delays.

If you do change your name, there are a lot of official records that will need amending, including:
Driver’s licence, passport, bank accounts and credit cards, kiwisaver, mortgage, hire purchase and lease agreements, IRD, community service cards, employer’s records and your CV, wills and insurance policies, dentist and doctor’s records, utilities – phone, power, etc, electoral roll, memberships and magazine subscriptions, library card and so on.
You can either work through the list of  documentary changes, or work between the two names, just changing them as the various cards expire.

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