Getting engaged and planning for a wedding and married life can be a complex process. Among the many decisions couples face, the question of whether a wife should change her surname is a common point of debate. In Thailand, changing one’s name after marriage is not mandatory. This choice has become a personal matter since a 2003 constitutional court ruling. In this article, we will explore the arguments for and against changing names. Additionally with practical considerations for Thai women who are contemplating this decision.
Benefits of Keeping the Same Surname:
- Emphasizing the Bond of Marriage: Some couples believe that sharing the same surname strengthens the sense of unity in their marriage.
- Eliminating Confusion in International Travel: In certain countries, the culture tends to change the maiden name after marriage. Spouses are expected to have the same surname when traveling together. However, you won’t have this problem with proper travel preparation. Bring a copy off your marriage certificate so you can use it if needed. Today, traveling with a different or same surname is not the same as 40 years ago.
Considerations for Not Changing the Name:
- Addressing Sexism: Critics argue that requiring a woman to change her name perpetuates sexist traditions and undermines her individual identity.
- Preserving Family Heritage: Changing one’s last name can lead to a disconnection from family heritage.This could be important to some individuals.
Practical Considerations for Changing Names in Thailand:
- Travel: While some countries may expect spouses to share the same surname, it is common for spouses to have different names. Carrying a copy of the marriage certificate (with translation if necessary) can serve as sufficient proof of marriage. Maintaining the maiden name may be helpful for certain dual-citizenship situations.
- Land and Property: Owning land or property in Thailand can be more straightforward for a Thai woman if she retains her maiden name .Changing names may subject her transactions to greater scrutiny. This is link to the fact that foreigners normally can’t own a land in Thailand.
- Changing Documents: If a wife decides to change her name, she will need to update various documents, including her identity card, passport, bank accounts, and more. This process can be time-consuming and involve paperwork.
Considerations for the Future:
- Divorce: In case of divorce, the process of changing the surname back would need to be repeated. The average marriage in about 8 years long. It could be wise to keep the original name for practical reasons.
- Difficulty in Tracking Changed Names: There might be instances where government agencies may not have updated name change information. This could cause potential disadvantages. More and more governments are thinking to forbid a name change to track people easier.
The decision to change a Thai woman’s name after marriage is a matter of personal choice. It’s crucial to consider the practical implications and potential disadvantages. If the wife doesn’t feel strongly about adopting her husband’s surname, keeping her Thai maiden name might be the most straightforward and advantageous option. Ultimately, the couple should discuss and decide what feels right for their relationship and future together.
- Thai government website about “Changing name in Thailand”