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Choosing your name after marriage/registered partnership

New law on names: You can choose a shared family name when you get married, but you are no longer obliged to do so.

Since 1.1.2013, under the new legal provision, both spouses keep their original surnames. They can still choose a shared family name if they want, however. In this case they must choose either the bride or the groom’s surname. In registered partnerships, the couple can also choose one of the partners’ names as a shared family name.

Double names

  • Double names such as Meier Müller may no longer be created through marriage by combining the surnames of the spouses. If someone already has a double name, they may continue to use it.
  • Surnames combined with a hyphen, such as Meier-Müller, are still allowed. Combined surnames are not official names and will not be entered in the civil register, but may be used in everyday situations and recorded in your passport and identity card on request.

Children’s names

  • The children of married parents automatically receive their parents’ shared surname.
  • Spouses with different surnames must decide, when they marry, which one of their surnames they will give to any future children. The parents can still choose to change their first child’s surname to that of the other parent within a year of the child’s birth.

Transitional provisions

  • Couples married or in a registered partnership before 2013 are not obliged to change their names.
  • If you changed your name after getting married before 2013, and are still married, you may at any time inform the register office that you would like to revert back to your maiden name.

Name changes

Who do I need to inform?

You must inform the authorities, your employer, the tax authorities, your bank and insurance companies, etc.

Changes to official documents

You need to update the following documents when you change your name:

  • Passport and ID card
  • Old-age, survivors' and invalidity insurance certificate
  • Driving licence and vehicle registration document
  • Bank and credit cards
  • Your certificate of origin,
  • etc.

What name to put on your letter box

It is advisable to display your old and new names on your letter box for a few weeks. When you receive a letter or parcel addressed to the old name, inform the sender in writing that you have changed your name.