Changing Your Name After a Divorce
21 September 2022
If you took on a new surname when you became married or entered into a civil partnership, and you have recently been through a divorce or dissolution, you may now be considering changing your name back to your maiden name.
For some individuals keeping their current surname is a matter of practicality – for example providing continuity for professional reasons, for others, choosing to let go of their ex-partner’s name is symbolic of a new beginning, and drawing a ‘line in the sand’.
How to change your name after divorce or civil partnership dissolution
By law, you can simply choose to adopt a new name and start using it – there is no formal requirement for any legal paperwork to be executed. However, in order to update your driving licence, bank accounts and other official records, you will need to execute a change of name ‘deed poll’. Alternatively, you can look to provide original/certified copies of the following documents to the relevant organisation:
- Final order from your divorce / dissolution proceedings;
- Original marriage or civil partnership certificate; and
- Your original birth certificate.
If you wish to update your passport, then in addition to providing the above documentation to HM Passport Office, you will also need to disclose the following:
- A statement signed by you saying you’ve gone back to your maiden name ‘for all purposes’ – that is, you will not use your married or civil partnership name at all; and
- A document that shows you are already using your new name (for example a payslip, or a letter from your local council).
What if you do not have all the necessary documents?
If you do not have all of the original documents listed above, there are the following options available:
- You can apply for a replacement marriage and/or birth certificate with the General Registers Office for a fee (approximately £11 per certificate).
- If your final order has been granted by the court, but you no longer have the document, you can apply for a copy of the final order for a fee.
- If you have not yet been granted a final order in the divorce / dissolution proceedings, or you simply do not want to circulate original copies of formal documents, you can change your name by executing a deed poll.
Who should I inform of my change of name?
Once you have changed your name (whether by deed poll or otherwise), you must update your name on all your official records. These include government departments, companies and organisations that hold your personal records such as:
- Banks & Building Societies;
- Mortgage lenders or your landlord;
- Insurance companies;
- Utility companies (gas, electricity, water);
- Pension providers;
- Electoral Register;
- Credit or loan providers;
- Benefits office;
- Passport office;
- DVLA (driver’s license and vehicle registration);
- Local council;
- The Police (if you have a criminal record); and
- Doctors and Dentist.
Changing your name can take time and it can be stressful – especially if you have issues tracking down the relevant paperwork. To help therefore, we have set out below some useful links that should assist with this process:
Obtain a copy of your Final Order / Decree Absolute – https://www.gov.uk/copy-decree-absolute-final-order
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at September 2022.