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Name

In contrast with age at marriage, for which there are specific statutes and uniformity, there is variety and little legislative action on the subject of name. Common law is not rigid about the regulation of names. A person can use any name she or he wishes as long as there is no intent to defraud creditors. Common law provides that children be registered on their birth certificates in their fathers’ names, but the married women are not required to take their husbands’ names. That most women do so is because of custom rather than regulation. The custom reflects the unity concepts of marriage, with the husband as lord and master of the home and the wife and children taking their identity from him. Although women are more likely than men to change their names in marriage and divorce, some women prefer to keep their birth names throughout. There are special costs involved, regardless of which choice a woman makes.