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Taking Your Spouse’s Surname After Marriage

Family Partner, Catherine Hancock discusses how two-time Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard decided to take his wife’s surname after marriage and what trends she is seeing in the UK.

Jonas Vingegaard, the Danish, two-time Tour de France winner (2022 and 2023) has just changed his surname to that of his wife. Internationally, we are seeing more couples (wives in particular) moving away changing their surname to that of their spouse.  

In 1983, Greece made it a legal requirement for women to retain their birth names and not change them after marriage. In the UK, and most other countries, it is still commonplace for women in opposite sex marriages to take their husband’s surname. In 2016, in the UK, nearly 90% of women in opposite sex marriages still took the surname of their husband. This was only a slight reduction from a 1994 study, that found 94% of women took their husband’s surname. There are less statistics available for people in same sex marriages, but it is generally believed that they are more likely to keep their own surnames or create a blended name for themselves.

After marriage, you can take your spouse’s surname or create a double-barrelled surname without any documentation other than your marriage certificate. However, if you wish to create a blended name by using parts of each surname, you would need to have a Change of Name Deed to confirm this change. An alternative would be to choose a new surname for both people, whether that is connected to either of your previous surnames or not. Again, a Change of Name Deed would be required to make this change.

As to whether many people will notice Vingegaard’s change, it is not clear. His racing name already uses his middle rather than his last name. So, his new surname will not be visible on the race results. However, it has made international cycling news and is likely to spark conversation around the increasingly taken decision of husbands choosing to take their wives’ surname.

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