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  • 1.  Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-16-2019 10:52 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-16-2019 10:51 AM
    I am a 36 year old female and have spent 20 years developing a career in septic consulting (yes, I started working at 13 and was drafting and design systems at 16). I also am a partner in an engineering firm. 

    I am am getting married and would like to legally change my last name to my partners last name. However, I am afraid I will loose many connections and credibility if my name changes. My new last name would mean nothing to people when they see it, as it is a name they haven't heard before. 

    Has as anyone dealt with legally changing your name but still operating under a maiden name for business purposes? I am also curious if I can continue using my maiden name on contracts. Can I use a DBA for my maiden name on contacts?

    Thank you you in advance for any input.

    Jessica Chavez EIT
    Cotati CA

  • 2.  RE: Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-17-2019 07:50 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-17-2019 07:49 AM
    First, please accept sincere congratulations on your success in your engineering and business career!

    And the very best wishes for your upcoming marriage!

    As to your questions, please change nothing until you obtain the advice of a competent attorney related to your business.

    The long-term value of your business connected to the immediate recognition of your name-to-date is market-valued.

    One ought to be able to work around a clear separation of "The Business" from "The Family."

    Bill Hayden Jr.

    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 3.  RE: Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-17-2019 08:17 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-17-2019 08:16 AM
    Congratulations!  Use the name change to your advantage.  As Bill states, your current name has market value.  Keep it online and in your marketing materials.  Change your name legally and now you have an added layer of protection against identity theft.  You can even keep your maiden name in your email communications.  When it is time to sign the contract or stamp something, your legal name will appear.  Existing clients will understand the change and new clients won't know any better.  Some separation of business and personal life is a good thing.

    Chad Morrison P.E.,M.ASCE
    Greenville RI
    (401)231-4870 EXT 2207

  • 4.  RE: Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-17-2019 10:06 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-17-2019 10:06 AM

    You could use both last names hyphonated for a period of time until you feel people know to associate both names with you.  Then you could drop your maiden name.  You could use both names as others suggested, but I would think that would be a hassle.  I changed my maiden last name to a middle name and now have two middle names.  My last name is the same as my husband and children.  Good luck!!

    Jessica Fisher M.ASCE
    Boone IA

  • 5.  RE: Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-17-2019 10:08 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-17-2019 10:08 AM
    Congrats on every single accomplishment!!!  First and most importantly you have to do what you feel in your heart is good.  Celebrate your union in your own way. If you want to keep your maiden name keep it, if you want to change it, change it. As a professional we have learned that changes and flexibility are part of day to day life and once you established trust and respect we should not lose it because changes in our lifestyle.  On the other hand, it is a pain to go through name changes once we have established an identity therefore, you may just want to keep it until you have to renew your licenses.  I had the reversed happened to me few years ago and it had taken me more than few to get back my professional identity.  There are still few professionals that will say "did I not know you as Mrs.?" so it will be a change and you how we love change orders welcome to a new project in your life.  Again, congrats!!!!

    Sara Arzu P.E.,M.ASCE
    Tulsa OK
    (918) 749-5800

  • 6.  RE: Name Change and Contracts

    Posted 04-17-2019 01:53 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 04-17-2019 01:52 PM

    I think that phone numbers, emails and other items should stay the same, and you start signing your new name.  People in professions change their names regularly.   You may need to explain that you got married, which leads to opportunities to talk about non business things which deepens your client relationship.  

    There are also lots of folk that do not change their working name when they get married or divorced.  If your name is in the company byline, I  would not change the company name.  I believe the real recognition is Jessica at "???? Engineering".  

    I think at the bottom line, choose what will strengthen your relationship at home.  Your business relationships will figure it out.

    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., Ph.D.,M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Rosenberg TX