Anyone had problems with nom de naissance/nom de mariage/famille mix-up?

This is most likely a question for the ladies..... anyone had problems with French officialdom mixing up your surnames - birth name, married name, second marriage name? I am not sure what the answer is or what, if anything, to do.


My situation is that I have, obviously, a nom de naissance, which is on my birth certificate. Then I got married and subsequently divorced, but the name I use all the time and the name which is on my passport is the surname from my first marriage - Brown.


Now the thing is that I have married again, in the UK. But I did not change my surname on any official documents to my second husbands name. So my passport is in the name of Brown, as was my UK driving licence. I just carried on being a Brown.


When we bought the house in France, we were married but bought it as B & K, the French bank account is B & K, the EDF bill comes to Brown.......... it was all going so well.


Three months ago I came out to live in France permanently and started to change everything over to the French system. I have registered as AE. Despite having filled in all the paperwork as Brown, Urssaf, RSI and RAM have all managed to re-name me as K. The Tresor have now decided to write to me as K. I have written and tried to explain to them. but to no avail, they sometimes write to me using all three names!


I was not really too bothered about all this until today my shiny new French driving licence arrived. It is the new international card licence......issued in my birth name P. Arggghhhh! all the forms and copies and translations I submitted were for Brown, expect my birth certificate, so why???.


I am not sure whether to do anything about it. The postlady thinks it is a great joke that I get letters addressed to any of three names and sometimes all three! My main concern is that if I fly back to the UK and need to hire a car the name on the driving licence does not match the passport.


Any ideas?

Just a thought - if you have a French driving licence - go to the hire car desk with a heavy French accent and shrug your way through the exchange of licence, payment, keys, etc. :-)

.... we are with La Poste too and exactly the same - joint names on the account, but everything addressed to Monsieur K, same with the Impots..... and I am the earner too (and usually do all the talking/paperwork)!

Well, I will see how I get on. I have booked a very quick trip to UK early December to visit my Mother and booked a hire car. I will take all the usual reams of paperwork I am used to taking with me everywhere in France and hope that does the trick.

When we got married here it was very funny as the Maire read out all the required info Tracy Kirkbright, daughter of James Kirkbright and Angela Richardson - my mum was in complete shock, she hadn't been referred to by her maiden name for 40 years as obviously in the UK you cast it of for ever.

Recently at a friends wedding ceremony we were also very surprised to hear our friends status as 'Jane X, daughter of John X and Mrs Y, divorced from Mr Z!' Some things just never leave you in France :-)

Thanks everyone for your replies. Tracy and Veronique's answer - that the French always use the nom de naissance - is interesting and what I suspected. I had half decided this afternoon, whilst waiting for your feedback, that I would go into the Prefecture later this week and ask them to change it to Brown, to match the passport, but now I don't think I will try. It clearly doesn't seem to be a problem in France and ursaff, rsi et al. seem quite happy that I write to them as K-B. I always send everyone copies of my birth and marriage certificates, a translation of each and an explanation of the situation - I have got this saved as a pdf doc on the computer now, its been asked for so many times!

The only problem I will have is when I am at the Europcar rental desk at East Midlands airport. As I am still at Brit I am quite confident I can argue it out with them. I don't have a UK driving licence any more as the Prefecture take it off you now when you apply to change it to a French one, however I have got colour copies of it and proof I live in France. The worst that can happen is I can't hire a car and will have to get the train or the next plane back.

Thanks everyone.

For professional reasons we never took each other's name in the UK (or anywhere else), our daughters have both names hyphenated. I have been married before and actually nobody has taken/used my name. Peculiarity here though, is that they give us the hyphenated/combined name for just about everything and as often as we tell them we are X and Y, they persist. That is entirely whacky considering we know that what Tracy and VĂ©ro are saying is the norm. So, be prepared for the unexpected, just in case.

Your driving licence passport & ID card (& combatant card of you are/were a soldier) are the only truly valid id documents you have as a French person and will always be in your maiden name. So I suppose they just applied the rule to you too. If you divorce in France you usually have to drop the nom d'usage you had as spouse of somebody, it is written into the acte.

I have the opposite problem, when I got married we stuck our names together and were mr & mrs myname-hisname : now I am divorced I have gone back to my own half & I expected my ex-husband to do the same, only he won't and as he is British & can legally call himself what he wants I can't do anything about it. INFURIATING.

I wouldn't worry about it Liz as the only name that really matters in France is your 'nom de naissance'. I married in France ten years ago and all official papers address me by the 'nom de naissance' despite asking for the 'nom de usage'. My French licence also uses my nom de naissance as it does for all French licences.

The only difficulty I foresee may be that using Brown in France has no relationship whatsoever to your current status and you will need to keep producing divorce and marriage certificates to prove who you are?

With regards to car hire my husband recently had to hire a UK car but he still has an old UK licence (little green and pink paper thing) with a defunct UK address on it. Apparently you have to provide a utility bill in the same address, we explained why we couldn't do this and they asked us simply to provide proof we lived overseas and that was it, hopefully they will have a workaround for your situation too.