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Old 23.03.2015, 23:12
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Double barreled surnames

Hi,
I am aware that for a couple of years now the Swiss authorities have not allowed newly married couples to create a double barreled name.
However, I (UK citizen) and my fiance (Swiss) would like to do so when we get married later this year in CH.

As we can see it, one way around this is for me to legally change my name prior to the wedding, by using a deed poll in the UK.
My new name would then be, for example,

John Smith-Muller

Then my fiance, who would just so happen to be currently called Muller, would take my name.

Would this be frowned upon by the authorities?

We would really like to do this, as much because my name is seemingly difficult for Swiss people to say and spell, and it would be nice to have the option of a more familiar name to use.

Many thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 23.03.2015, 23:57
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Re: Double barreled surnames

Why not drop your name, take hers, and be a trend-setter? Plus make it easier for Swiss folk to talk with you.

As far as I understand, if you hyphenate, you will be Mr. and Ms. "Smith-Muller" and not just Smith, nor just Muller. Schmidt-Muller isn't so hard.

I know a Swiss person with hyphenated first names. All people call him by both first names. He created a mess in his documents because he didn't use the hyphen all the time, so some docs show his name, say, as John Smith and others as John-Paul Smith.
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Old 24.03.2015, 00:02
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Re: Double barreled surnames

I can't answer your original question but a word of advice: Forget the stupid hyphen.

If you opt to change beforehand, just change your name to Smith Muller (two last names). I was able to hyphenate under the old rules and it has caused nothing but headaches. Computer settings for websites, doctor's offices, etc. don't know what to do with it. So sometimes it gets mashed together, sometimes a hyphen, sometimes two names. It gets very confusing.
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Old 24.03.2015, 07:10
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Would this be frowned upon by the authorities?
Who cares? You can get married where you want and use the naming conventions legal there. Get everything documented and show up with the legal documents in your city hall in CH. I mentioned it before: Our bi-national marriage was such a bureaucratic joke that if I can advice anyone I suggest either Vegas or a ship on the high seas...
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:31
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Re: Double barreled surnames

Technically her DB-surname would be Muller-Smith.

Just get her to take your name and be done with it. If she doesn't, and you guys have children, you enter the realm of a shitload of paperwork should she want to travel with the children
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:47
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Re: Double barreled surnames

For my 5 pence, doubled-barreled names sound REALLY shit. All that effort, and no one other than perhaps a doctor's receptionist will ever call you by your full name.
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:50
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Re: Double barreled surnames

Keep your own names… or pick one of your names and have the same. Non of the Swiss can say my surname, but I wasn't going to take my husbands Swiss name just to make life easy, I like my name!
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:56
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Re: Double barreled surnames

I'm not sure if it's official or not, but my Swiss wife (formerly Ms. Schmidt) still gets mail from some official locations addressed using my name (Jones) followed by hers ...... Mrs. Jones-Schmidt.

Just to note: this wasn't a choice on either part - she was happy with a single surname.

She explains it thus: Mrs. <married name> followed by <born as>

However, when I received mail addressed to Mr. Jones-Schmidt, I was really pissed off, because I wasn't born a Schmidt.
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:59
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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I'm not sure if it's official or not, but my Swiss wife (formerly Ms. Schmidt) still gets mail from some official locations addressed using my name (Jones) followed by hers ...... Mrs. Jones-Schmidt.

Just to note: this wasn't a choice on either part - she was happy with a single surname.

She explains it thus: Mrs. <married name> followed by <born as>

However, when I received mail addressed to Mr. Jones-Schmidt, I was really pissed off, because I wasn't born a Schmidt.
3 letters too many
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Old 24.03.2015, 09:03
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Many thanks in advance for any advice.
Truth be told, I have seen name discrimination occur on numerous occasions. So there may be some advantages in keeping a Swiss name.
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Old 24.03.2015, 09:32
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Truth be told, I have seen name discrimination occur on numerous occasions. So there may be some advantages in keeping a Swiss name.
Thanks. And thanks for the other comments.
I think we may well decide to do two seperate names, rather than with a hyphen as this maybe gives more choice.

Although as yet, no one has been able to answer the key question: Is it legal to do what we propose?
Probably we will speak to a lawyer to get a definitive answer.
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Old 24.03.2015, 09:44
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Re: Double barreled surnames

All I can see is that the Swiss will probably still see Muller as the last name and Smith as some sort of middle name.

If double barreled names are illegal, they're illegal no matter what you might do. And as dodgyken points out, there'll be hell to deal with once any kids come along. If they can't pronounce your surname, then just change it to hers by deed poll - much easier. If you think yours is bad, ours results in regular gender changes for my hubby.
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Old 24.03.2015, 09:51
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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All I can see is that the Swiss will probably still see Muller as the last name and Smith as some sort of middle name.

If double barreled names are illegal, they're illegal no matter what you might do. And as dodgyken points out, there'll be hell to deal with once any kids come along. If they can't pronounce your surname, then just change it to hers by deed poll - much easier. If you think yours is bad, ours results in regular gender changes for my hubby.
I did not realise your could change your name in CH by deed poll.
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Old 24.03.2015, 09:58
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Although as yet, no one has been able to answer the key question: Is it legal to do what we propose?
Probably we will speak to a lawyer to get a definitive answer.
It is news to me that it is illegal. I know a number of people do it. My wife does it, as many know her by her original name. I don't do it, and choose to stay with my original name. Yet I've also seen many men in Switzerland change to their wife's name.

Let us know if you find out if there are actual laws about it. Personally, I don't think this should be in the domain of authorities to decide for others.
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Old 24.03.2015, 10:18
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Re: Double barreled surnames

It's not illegal. (Edit: or certainly wasn't until very recently.)

My Swiss passport has me as 'my first name and my last name'. My wife's Swiss passport has 'her first name and my last name-hyphen-her last name'.

I just have to be sure I enter this when booking air tickets so the ticket and passport name are the same. I feel this convention is rather nice and allows the wife's maiden name to continue...
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Old 24.03.2015, 10:25
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Technically her DB-surname would be Muller-Smith.
Not in Switzerland.

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For my 5 pence, doubled-barreled names sound REALLY shit. All that effort, and no one other than perhaps a doctor's receptionist will ever call you by your full name.
And bills from the tax office.

When you marry in CH, you can choose a new last name, at least if both are Swiss.

Tom
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Old 24.03.2015, 10:32
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Re: Double barreled surnames

Some very {ahem} enlightened parents pass on these double barrelled surnames to their children, but then what happens when they grow up and marry another double barrelled surname??? Exponential double barrel surname chaos
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Old 24.03.2015, 10:41
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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Some very {ahem} enlightened parents pass on these double barrelled surnames to their children, but then what happens when they grow up and marry another double barrelled surname??? Exponential double barrel surname chaos
And think of all the trouble you have trying to fit your full name on to all those official forms with small boxes you have to fill in over your lifetime.

FMF he's talking about changing the name by deed poll in the UK before getting married.
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Old 24.03.2015, 10:43
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Re: Double barreled surnames

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It's not illegal. (Edit: or certainly wasn't until very recently.)

My Swiss passport has me as 'my first name and my last name'. My wife's Swiss passport has 'her first name and my last name-hyphen-her last name'.

I just have to be sure I enter this when booking air tickets so the ticket and passport name are the same. I feel this convention is rather nice and allows the wife's maiden name to continue...
The Law changed in January 2013. Spouses can take the name their wife or husband, or keep their own- but NOT both. People married before 2013 will be able to keep a double.barreled name though. If each has chosen to keep his or her name- they have to choose which one will pass on the name to the children. They have a year after the birth to finalise this. All children will have to have the same name in future.

So you can both become Smith, or both become Müller, or you remain Smith and s/he remains Müller, and the children could be either, but all the same. But no double barreled name on any official documents, as said, from Jan 13. I'd cut a newspaper cutting at the time, and just found it on the side of the pantry fridge!

Castro, exactly- this was happening more and more which is why the Law changed, as it was just getting ridiculous.

Last edited by Odile; 24.03.2015 at 10:56.
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Old 24.03.2015, 11:13
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Re: Double barreled surnames

More here on it too:

https://www.ch.ch/en/married-name/

So Smith Muller isn't allowed, but Smith-Muller is! Thank goodness I was old fashioned and took my husband's name.
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