Deciding on the surname in a marriage and cohabitation
Two people planning to get married can choose whether to take the surname of one the partners as their common surname or whether both will keep their own surnames. It is also possible that their surnames will be made into a new compound surname for the couple. Two partners living in cohabitation may also apply for a common surname.
Two partners getting married have several options to choose from when deciding on their surname. They can
- keep their own surnames
- take the surname of one of the partners as their common surname
- take the compound surname of one of the partners as their common surname or take one surname from the compound surname of one partner as their common surname
- take the pre-marriage surname of one of the partners (the surname that the partner had before getting married last time) as their common surname
- take a new common compound surname combining the surnames, pre-marriage surnames or compound surnames of both partners.
An arrangement in which one of the partners keeps their own surname and only one of the partners takes a compound surname combining the surnames of both partners is also possible.
However, if one the partners has a surname or compound surname received from the former spouse, the partners cannot take this name as their common surname, compound surname or part of the compound surname.
Go to the name service of the Population Register Centre to check the popularity of specific surnames in Finland.
The compound surname of a couple may have a maximum of two surnames. They can be combined with a hyphen or written separately.
The two surnames in a common compound surname may be formed using the partners’
- compound surnames
- pre-marriage surnames.
Note, however, that your new partner cannot be given the surname received from your former partner (not even as part of a compound surname).
When you submit a request to the Local Register Office or your parish to examine the impediments to the marriage, you must also notify these authorities of the surname that you intend to take. Remember to submit the request well in advance of the marriage ceremony. The examination takes at least seven days but it may also last longer.
If the parish or the Local Register Office concludes that the common surname that you are proposing is in accordance with the law, you will be given the new common surname in connection with the marriage ceremony.
On certain conditions, surname/surnames can be changed into a new common surname if the new surname is not used by any living person in Finland. However, such a surname cannot be given in connection with the marriage ceremony as you must submit a separate application to the Local Register Office.
On certain conditions, a couple may also change the surname into a name previously used in the family of one of the partners. In such cases, too, a separate application must be submitted to the Local Register Office.
The rules applying to the surnames of partnerships between men and women also apply to the surnames of same-sex couples.
Yes you can. You can submit an application to the Local Register Office stating that you would like to get back your own pre-marriage surname or start using your spouse’s surname.
If you have lived together for at least five years or you have your common child in joint custody, you can submit an application for a common surname or compound surname even if you are not married. In a cohabitation partnership, the common surname or compound surname is formed in the same manner as in a marriage.