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by Abigail Van Buren

Name Change Is a Roadblock on Couple's Trip to the Altar

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Kip," and I are being married next year and we have only one disappointment. It's about my keeping my last name. I don't want to take Kip's last name.

I have had the same name for 33 years and I do not believe a woman "has" to take her husband's name when they marry. However, the biggest issue for me is my fiance never knew his father, who left when Kip was a baby. I do not wish to take the name of a man who neither of us knows, and who had no positive influence on our lives. I'm part of a close-knit family, and I am proud to bear the name of my father -- a hardworking, dedicated Vietnam veteran.

Am I out of line? We will accept your answer because we are unable to resolve this ourselves. -- STANDING MY GROUND IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR STANDING: While most women still change their names to their husband's (or hyphenate them), those who don't usually have established themselves in a career in which they are known by their maiden name. Others fear that if they change their names they'll lose their identity.

No one can or should decide this for you. However, if Kip did know his dad and the man was a fine, upstanding citizen, would you feel differently? Remember, you are marrying Kip, not his father, and I assume your fiance is a wonderful person. Given your logic, because he had no relationship with his father, should he change his name to yours? Please make no decisions about this until you two have talked this out more fully.