PRICEY LETTER: It would cost Joeanne Donpon $183.60 to remove the surplus E from her name.
PRICEY LETTER: It would cost Joeanne Donpon $183.60 to remove the surplus E from her name. Ebony Graveur

Can you put a dollar amount on your name?

CHANGE the way you spell your name or pay $183.60 to keep it as you've been doing: This was the ultimatum Joanne Donpon faced when, at 50, she discovered she'd spent the past half-century spelling her name incorrectly.

Her parents and teachers didn't pick up on the error and it was only when the Dalby woman walked down the aisle for the second time that the marriage celebrant noticed and pointed out Joanne was actually Joeanne, with an extra E.

"It was just over two years ago and they picked up that I'd been spelling my name wrong so I had to either spell my name with the E in it, as it is now,” she said.

"Or I would have to go through all the paperwork to get it changed so I could spell it without the (second) E, like I have for all these years.”

When she married before, in 1986, nobody picked up on the discrepancy and Joanne was able to slide under the radar, trickery unbeknown even to her.

When she realised the truth, she felt lost, noting the weight her name carried in contributing to her identity.

"I was a little bit lost with it actually because we'd always spelled it like that,” she said.

According to the Queensland Government Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces website, the process of changing a name, even just removing a letter, incurs a $183.60 fee.

"To have to go and pay to have the E taken out was a bit much so I thought I'd keep the E in it,” she said.

"I just try and write everything with an (extra) E in it now. I just say 'Joeanne with an E' when I'm spelling it,” she said.

After two years, she's starting to get used to it.

"It's growing on me. It feels a little bit funny to do it but I guess it will just take time for it to feel normal.”


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