Whitney (emilysullivan) wrote in little_details,

Hyphenated last names and remarriage

Hi there everyone! First of all, let me apologize for any idiocy: I fear that this is probably a very stupid question and that I might be missing obvious, but I’m not entirely sure how to even go about Googling this and, my first attempts (basically a combination things about hyphenated last names and remarriage) have come up entirely unsuccessful.

I have a new character who I’ll call Jane, who was born to then-engaged parents and given a hyphenated last name: Jane Smith-Jones. The details are unimportant, but the father passes away before their marriage and the mother ultimately marries someone else when Jane is about four/five or so. I realize that it’s pretty much a personal decision on the mother’s part, but what would be the best way to handle the daughter’s hyphenated surname and that of her new husband, which the mother will be taking? Also, the mother and stepfather will go on to have a daughter of their own, and she will have his last name only.

If it matters whatsoever, the family is pretty much your typical American family, and my story is set in the modern US. Thank you all so much and again, sorry if any of this is just plain ignorant!

ETA: You guys are absolutely fantastic! Thank you all so much for the super fast (not to mention super amazing) answers. I've decided to go with the majority, and Jane is going to keep her birth name -- mostly as a homage to her biological father, and so her mother doesn't look like she's trying to erase his existence, or anything. Again, thank you!! This community is incredible.
Tags: usa (misc), ~names

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