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Do French women often use their maiden name?


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The reason I ask is that it is very common for women in the Spanish speaking countries of the Carribbean to use their name and not adopt their husbands surname, to the point that my wife and I were talking to a Granny from the Dominican Republic and she looked at my wife as if she was a freak after noticing that we shared the same surname and was adamant that she didn't know any woman who would do this. I wondered if this came from Spain and potentially the done thing in the South of France - or elsewhere.

Recently, whilst on the www I stumbled across a reference to a French lass I had known

some 18 or 19 years ago. She appears to be very senior public servant

in a European wide org. and she still uses her maiden name, which made

me wonder if French ladies often keep their maiden name?

BTW, I'm not about to stalk/contact my French lady[:P], it's just that as I approach my 40 th birthday I have an urge to see if I could find out what people from my 'youth' were doing, review all those wasted opportunities, all those lost friends....   I'm not sure if I'm being maudlin or mawkish... where's that glass of wine gone?

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French official papers usually have a field titled 'Nom de jeune fille', which is where a married French woman would indicate her maiden name if she had opted to use her married name as her usual name.

There is also the usual formula "maiden name - first name, épouse husband's name'" used in legal papers.

There is no legal obligation for a French married woman to use her married name but tradition weighs in very heavily in her doing so. I have never used my husband's name, yet a lot of official papers sent to me personally are adressed to "Madame my_husband'sname".
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This is where it gets more complicated.

From 1st Jan 2005:

If the child is born legitimately, both parents in agreement decide which name the child (and all other children from their marriage) will use: father's name, mother's name or a combination of both names.

In the case of an illegitimate child, the child is given the name of the parents who declares him/her first. If the second parent's name is added to the birth certificate during the first 18 years of the child's life, the parents can decide as above.

There is a basic explanation here: http://www.paris.notaires.fr/

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[quote user="Christine Animal"]

Oglefakes, maybe your French lass never married, or maybe she divorced in which case they often return to their maiden name.

Here's gone your glass of wine, cheers !   [IMG]http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a363/Bechamel/whitewine.gif[/IMG]

 

[/quote]

Mrs Benjamin continued to use her maiden name in business as she worked in a fairly narrow commercial environment where she was well known and it would have just caused confusion if she'd started to use a new (married) name.

Mine's a pint[B]

Today is the 15th anniversary of the day we left England to begin our adventure.

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Conversely, it's very unusual for a divorced French woman to keep her married name.  Many people here are shocked that I still use my married name, along the lines of  "but what does your ex husband say about you using his name like that, do you have his permission, why would you want to... etc?"

And I won't even start to go into all the problems this has caused with French officialdom.

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By law, a French divorced woman can only keep using her married name if her ex-husband lets her.

After my parents divorce, my father threatened to sue my mother if she kept using his name. I had to resort to threatening to change my name for hers to make him back down.

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[quote user="powerdesal"]Whilst I have no objection to married ladies keeping their maiden name, and certainly would not have had a problem if my wife had wanted to do that 40 years ago,
[/quote]

That's very big of you: I hope Mrs. Powerdesal is truly grateful!

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[quote user="KathyC"]

[quote user="powerdesal"]Whilst I have no objection to married ladies keeping their maiden name, and certainly would not have had a problem if my wife had wanted to do that 40 years ago,

[/quote]

That's very big of you: I hope Mrs. Powerdesal is truly grateful!

[/quote]

Grateful does not come into it, the desire / possibility/ probability was never discussed.

Its not "big" of me, my wife is a equal member of our team, as I am. We just happen to follow the "tradition", it in no way diminishes her and it does not make me feel good/ bad/ in charge or whatever. We are equal partners in a marriage that has happily continued for 40 yrs plus the 10 years of childhood friendship before it.

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So, in general - like the UK and many other places - some women retain the use of their maiden name for professional or other personal  preference reasons, but however, do usually change back after a divorce. I was completely unaware that the latter was the norm. Interesting.

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I've found that I have to use my maiden name all the time in France, when it almost never gets used in the UK.  For instance, whenever I went to hospital last year (during my pregnancy, so it was quite often), they would ask 'name as a  young woman' at every visit, this being the main 'key' on their database, at every visit.  They thought it quite strange that I used my 'husband's name'.  Our house is in a rural area and in our experience, more of the women use their maiden name than their married name.  Your maiden name doesn't seem to get lost in France in the same way it does in the UK. This is actually quite sensible from an inheritance point of view....

I'm also not sure about UK women changing back after a divorce.  I was divorced and I had my first husband's name as long as I had my maiden name.  My children also had that name so I never dreamed of reverting to my maiden name.  When I married again I took my second husband's name.  Am I very old fashioned then????

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Before the law changes that Clair mentioned, children of a married couple automatically had their father's name. I have friends who kept their maiden name and usually ended up carrying the livret de famille with them everywhere to prove that they were the mother. I know of some who have had problems with banks refusing to give them chequebooks for a joint account in both names and insisting on M et mme X (although they somehow manage this without problem for unmarried couples) The stupid thing is that in schools for example, we are so used to children and parents not having the same name because divorced women can't use their exhusband's name without his permission in the divorce papers.

The thing is that in France, the name on your birth certificate is your name and it doesn't change (without a decision from the procureur I think) you are allowed to have a "nom d'usage" which can be almost anything, but you still have your birth name for anything official. When you marry you can choose to use your husband's name as a "nom d'usage" but nothing in law has ever forced you to. My ID card, driving license, carte d'electeur, carte vitale ...... are all in my maiden name with nom d'epouse written after it. When I took civil servant exams, I checked the results on the minitel (shows how long ago it was) and panicked because I thought I had failed. I was looking under the first letter of my married name and it was in my maiden name.  

The most confusing incident was probably for my mum. I got married in France and they read out your details "child of X and Y, born at..... " She hears "Mistral daughter of  (dad's full name) and (mum's full maiden name) " It was the first time she had heard that name in an official setting for 30 years.

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[quote user="Prasutagus"]A top, and very well known gynaecologist that I know, declined to use her married name as that would have made her Dr Overy...[/quote]

But surely no one would have made the connection, as the other version of the word is spelled with an 'a'  [:D]

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[quote user="Mistral"]

The thing is that in France, the name on your birth certificate is your name and it doesn't change (without a decision from the procureur I think) you are allowed to have a "nom d'usage" which can be almost anything, but you still have your birth name for anything official.   

[/quote]

Excellent!  I will be able to reinvent myself.

And to think I was about to join the legion [:D]

EDIT:  That  remindes me, a Greek-Cypriot friend explained their traditional naming system - which I bet I get wrong - that involves naming the 1st born son's first name after his paternal grandfather, and his surname is his own father's first name. The second born son gets the first name of his maternal grandfather etc.  What makes it more confusing is that the Greek Orthodox church will only christen kids with traditional names (Andrew, Peter, George,  etc) If anyone wants a name like 'Moonbeam', 'Kestrel' or just to be whacky....'Apple', then they make that the official middle name.

So you would have a family unit of say mum, dad, two sons and a daughter, all with different surnames. I think this was dropped overseas with mass emigration after the war as the Canadian, US, Australian, UK, etc systems thought they were making it up for a laugh [:)] My pal's name is Haralambous Haralambous , but to avoid confusion, he gets called Bambos Haralambous [:D] Nice guy, but the image of Dick in that old pic, but without the smile. He often has trouble getting on planes.

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J stil uses her ex-husband's name because that was her professional name.  As we lived together for 15 years before we married, everybody we know calls her by that name and she has never used my name after we got married.

It took a bit of explaining to the guy in CA when we went to open our account there though - born with one name, married and still using that name, not using my name from second marriage sort of confused his computer also.

Here she uses whichever name seems the most appropriate for the circumstances.

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Tony, a friend of ours is in the same boat.

She is married for the second time, making her 'Mrs Brown' but as she is a Phd, is published and has Patents to her name, she continues to use her previous husbands name for all business/academic work. Her second husband is cool with this and as she says, having a name like vitka***** is easier to find in google than Brown.

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I have been obliged to sign my maiden name in France on several occasions - I think it was usually to do with property purchase or sale.  It's very weird, after 30 years of signing a married name.  I am always afraid I shall have forgotten how I used to do it.  [;-)]

My French-Canadian sister-in-law told me that when a woman is widowed in Quebec, she always reverts to her maiden name.

Angela

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Could there be some connection to the inheritance laws? ie a woman inherits through her original family name. Another point is that many french couples with children don't bother to get married. There are alternative legally acceptable marriage regimes. Pat.
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When my very best friend married in France in the 80's, I was a witness and had to sign the register using my maiden name. Although in England I use my married name, I travelled for work for quite a while after my marriage on a passport issued in my maiden name. This was largely because immediately after getting married I went to work in Australia for a while and the visa had already been applied for before we married (long story........) Anyway, all went well until, on a business trip to Turkey, the local agent decided we needed to go to Ankara, and booked an internal flight for me from Istanbul using my married name. I came very, very close to being arrested at Istanbul airport because my name on the ticket and in the passport weren't the same. After explaining to the very nice man and his big gun that in England, there was no obligation to change your name, he let me go. His parting shot (verbal - the big gun wasn't involved....) was "No wife of mine would be allowed to do that!" . I told the story to my boss on my return, and the company then made me change my passport. They paid.
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