The surnames of the spouses when getting married

When do the spouses have to indicate their choice of surname?

Those getting married must indicate their choice of surname to the party examining the impediments to the marriage when they request such an examination. An examination of the impediments to a marriage is requested on a form designed for the purpose, on which there is also a section for the choice of surname. The form can be found on the page dvv.fi/examination-of-impediments-to-marriage. Both spouses will keep the surname they had at the time of their marriage if the parties fail to indicate their choice of surname to the party examining the impediments to the marriage.

It should be noted that the spouses may not change their choice of surname following the examination of the impediments to the marriage. If, following the examination, the spouses have second thoughts about their choice of surname, they can tell the officiator. However, in such a case they will keep the surname they had when they got married.

A surname from a previous marriage cannot be transferred to a new spouse

A surname from a previous marriage cannot be transferred to a new spouse as a surname or one name in a double-barrelled surname name. Nor may a double-barrelled surname from a previous marriage be transferred to a new spouse.

The legal options

When getting married, the spouses have four options.

  1. Both spouses keep the surname they had when they got married
  2. They may agree to use a common surname or double-barrelled surname. For a double-barrelled name to be regarded as a common surname, the two names must be in the same order for both spouses, and the use of the hyphen must be agreed. See also the section hereinafter: ‘The implication for children of common surnames or double-barrelled surnames’.
  3. The spouses may agree that one of them adopts a double-barrelled surname, which is not common to both, from their own surname or from one of the names in their double-barrelled surname, and from their spouse’s surname or or from one of the names in their spouse’s double-barrelled surname. Both spouses may independently exercise their right to adopt a double-barrelled surname. It does not depend on whether both spouses adopt a double-barrelled surname or in which order the names in the spouse’s double-barrelled surname appear. A surname transferring to the other spouse must, however, also be kept by the spouse the name is transferring from. The use of a hyphen is a personal choice.
  4. The spouses may agree that one of them takes one of the surnames in their spouse’s double-barrelled surname as their own surname.

What is a double-barrelled surname?

A double-barrelled surname can be formed from two separate surnames a person has the right to use. No more than two surnames can be combined in this way. The surnames are combined either with a hyphen or are written separately. The order of the surnames and the use of the hyphen must be chosen when the double-barrelled surname is adopted.

What name can be chosen as a common surname or as part of a common double-barrelled surname?

A surname can be adopted as a common surname or as part of a common double-barrelled surname that one of the parties has at the time the examination of the impediments to the marriage is requested or either of them had when they were last single. However, no surname can be adopted as a common surname or part of a common double-barrelled surname that one of the spouses took in a previous marriage.

A double-barrelled surname may contain no more than two surnames.

The implication for children of common surnames or double-barrelled surnames

If the spouses have adopted a common surname or common double-barrelled surname, their children will always have the same surname or double-barrelled surname as the parents.

What if those getting married do not adopt a common surname or common double-barrelled surname?

If people intending to get married do not adopt a common surname or common double-barrelled surname, one of the parties, with the consent of their spouse, can adopt a double-barrelled surname from their own surname or one of the names in their double-barrelled surname and from their spouses’ surname or one of the names in their spouse’s double-barrelled surname. Someone intending to get married may, with the consent of their spouse, also take as their surname one of the names in their spouse’s double-barrelled surname.

- The right to adopt a double-barrelled surname is a personal choice and does not depend on whether both parties adopt a double-barrelled name or in which order the names in the spouse’s double-barrelled surname appear. A name transferring to the other spouse must, however, also be kept by the spouse the name is transferring from.

Examples

Example 1

Lindgren and Mattila, when the impediments to their marriage are being examined, state that they intend to adopt a common surname or common double-barrelled surname when they get married. For the double-barrelled name to be regarded as a common surname, the surnames must be in the same order for both spouses, and the use of the hyphen must be agreed.

These are the options:

  • Lindgren
  • Mattila
  • Lindgren-Mattila
  • Lindgren Mattila
  • Mattila-Lindgren
  • Mattila Lindgren

Example 2

Maija Kangas and Jussi Järvi Luoto request an examination of the impediments to their marriage. Both have their original surname. Together they have agreed that Maija will adopt a double-barrelled surname consisting of her own surname and one of the surnames in Jussi’s double-barrelled surname.

The double-barrelled surname may be

  • Kangas Järvi or Kangas-Järvi
  • Järvi Kangas or Järvi-Kangas
  • Kangas Luoto or Kangas-Luoto
  • Luoto Kangas or Luoto-Kangas

Example 3

Maija Kangas Luoto and Jyrki Järvi request an examination of the impediments to their marriage. Both have their original surname. Together they have agreed that, when she marries, Maija will adopt a double-barrelled surname consisting of one of the surnames in her double-barrelled surname and Jyrki’s surname.

The double-barrelled surname may be

  • Kangas Järvi or Kangas-Järvi
  • Järvi Kangas or Järvi-Kangas
  • Luoto Järvi or Luoto-Järvi
  • Järvi Luoto or Järvi-Luoto.

Example 4

Maija Mäki Kangas and Jyrki Järvi Luoto request an examination of the impediments to their marriage. The surname Kangas in Maija’s double-barrelled surname is from her previous marriage. Together Maija and Jyrki have agreed that, when he marries, Jyrki will adopt a double-barrelled surname consisting of one of the surnames in his double-barrelled surname and one of the surnames in Maija’s double-barrelled surname.

The double-barrelled surname may be

  • Järvi Mäki or Järvi-Mäki
  • Mäki Järvi or Mäki-Järvi
  • Luoto Mäki or Luoto-Mäki
  • Mäki Luoto or Mäki-Luoto.

The surname Kangas cannot transfer to Jyrki, because it is from Maija’s previous marriage.

Example 5

Maija Mäki Kangas and Jyrki Järvi Luoto request an examination of the impediments to their marriage. Both have their original surname. Together Maija and Jyrki have agreed that Jyrki, when he marries, will adopt a double-barrelled surname consisting of one of the surnames in his double-barrelled surname and one of the surnames in Maija’s double-barrelled surname.

The double-barrelled surname may be

  • Järvi Mäki or Järvi-Mäki
  • Mäki Järvi or Mäki-Järvi
  • Luoto Mäki or Luoto-Mäki
  • Mäki Luoto or Mäki-Luoto
  • Järvi Kangas or Järvi-Kangas
  • Kangas Järvi or Kangas-Järvi
  • Luoto Kangas or Luoto-Kangas
  • Kangas Luoto or Kangas-Luoto.

Furthermore, Maija can, within certain restrictions, adopt her own, different double-barrelled surname, with Jyrki’s consent, from one of his surnames and one of her own, with the name transferring from the spouse, however, remaining with him (i.e. same surnames, but in a different order). If Jyrki chooses the name Järvi Mäki and Maija wants a different double-barrelled surname, she can be called Mäki Kangas, Mäki Järvi or Mäki-Järvi.

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