Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Now that we are married, the question of what to do with my name has been a fairly frequent one. I am keeping my name for a variety of different reasons: I like my name; my mother regrets changing hers; I can keep my red and white health card1, etc. Mat has offered to hyphenate his name if I want to do the same. I figure that we can take some time to decide--I can't change anything until we get our marriage certificate, which will be roughly 10-12 weeks after the wedding.

I've been very surprised by how controversial this decision has been. There have been unexpected moments of support (my dad is really pleased that I want to keep my name), but a lot of people have been quite negative about it, like the woman who sold us our marriage license. The latest in this line of people has been a supervisor at our local bank.

We received a couple of cheques as wedding gifts that were made out to Mat and Rhi FrenchLastName, and we went to try to cash them on the weekend. We weren't sure if we'd be able to, but figured that since people get married all the time, the bank would have some kind of contingency in place.

Not so. The bank teller had to get her supervisor, who told us that it was impossible to do anything--even deposit them--without the marriage certificate and change of name documents, and that we would have to go back to our guests and ask them to write us new cheques. "It's only naturally for people to assume that you'll take your husband's name," the supervisor said to me.

But the point, I think (and I did say this at the time) isn't that I don't intend to change my name. Even if I wanted to change it, I couldn't until I had my marriage certificate, which would still take nearly three months, which is an awfully long time not to cash a cheque that someone's written for you. "But at least you'd have the paperwork," sniffed the supervisor, which is also not true, since you have to send away for it all to a processing centre that's 14 hours away.

So I came home and did a little creative googling, and it turns out that there are no formal rules about these things at banks2, and that it seems to depend largely on who you speak to at the bank. Fortunately, I have a friend who works at a different branch of the same bank on the other side of town, and we'll be going to see him later this week.

On the knitting front, I have been picking away at my mother's sweater in hopes of having it finished for Christmas. I also knit a cozy for my teapot out of my very own handspun. It's quite lovely looking, I think. I have also wet finished all of my Targhee handspun, and I'm looking forward to turning it into a hat and mitts soon.

1 Several years ago, the Ontario government decided to switch our plain health cards, which look not unlike a social insurance card, to photo ID health cards. The photo cards (which do not count as a legal form of government ID) have to be renewed with a new photo every five years. The red and white cards have no expiry dates. Every time someone in the medical field sees my card, he or she tells me to guard it with my life.
2 Well, probably there are, but they don't seem to be observed with any consistency


Straittohell said...

Ja. Zat is why we gave you der cash, ja.

Oh, that and everyone likes der cash.

Anonymous said...

that's weird. do you guys have a joint account? i think that solves it too, since either of you could cash it.

we haven't had a problem and ppl mess it up with us too all the time.

H said...

This just boils my blood. Though, as the other person said, the joint account with both names probably solves any disparity.