May 20, 2005
Can You Ask Your Wife for Your Name Back?
Posted by Christine Hurt

We've been talking here and at VC about women who do or don't take their husbands' names.  Can a husband demand his name back in a divorce?  Or at least keep you from using it in commerce?  This WSJ article tells a sad tale of the separation of Mr. and Mrs. Birkenstock.  When Susanne Papenbrock married Christian Birkenstock (and took his name), his family had been successful in the shoe business for over 200 years.  Susanne went to work in the family shoe business.  Sixteen years later, they separated, and Susanne started her own shoe business and designed a hot new sandal under the name "Susanne Birkenstock International."  Mr. B balked, so now the name is SB International.

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