If Marriage Is In Your Future, Should You Change Your Name?

Establishing default rules for spousal names at the time of marriagewill be the topic of a presentation Thursday, March 30, at theUniversity of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Elizabeth F. Emens, an associate professor of law at Columbia LawSchool in New York City, will speak on the topic at 3:30 p.m. in thecollege’s Borchard Conference Room. The event is free, and the publicis invited to attend.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Emenswrites in an abstract of her talk that “the current system fordetermining spousal names is a complicated mix of majoritarian andpenalty default rules.” Legally, the easiest option – the primarydefault – is keeping both premarital names, she says. “It’s mostdifficult for either or both spouses to choose another unconventionaloption such as merged names or a new family name…”

Emens received her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in English andpsychology from Yale, and earned a Ph.D. in English from King’sCollege, University of Cambridge, England. She is visiting the collegeas a Howard H. Rolapp Scholar.