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From Mrs to Ms: How do I change my name?

Following a divorce some women revert to their maiden name and some don’t. There is no right or wrong – it is simply a matter of personal choice.

But how do you change your name? The following guide will help you understand what you need to do step-by-step.

By law, you can simply adopt a new name and start using it. However, you will need a deed poll or other types of formal documents to update your passport, driving licence, bank accounts and other official records.

If you are already divorced, you can use the following documents as proof of your change of name:

  • Decree absolute
  • Original marriage certificate
  • Original birth certificate

Divorce documents are not usually accepted on their own as evidence of a change of name unless it shows both your married name and maiden name.

If you do not have the original documents above or haven’t received your decree absolute yet you can still change your name, but you will need a deed poll.

Changing by deed poll

It costs £14 to make a deed poll application and you can apply online or from £22 if you would like to make a request by post – details here. 

Tips for changing your name 

  • Gather together the official documentation you need before contacting companies to change your name. If possible, have multiple copies.
  • Prioritise a form of photo ID as some companies may ask to see it as proof of name change.
  • It can be useful to take copies of photo IDs using your old name before changing just in case you need proof at a later day.
  • Set aside a day to get all your name changes completed in one day. Keep track of who you have contacted and when.

Name changes can occupy a lot of time and stress, especially if you have issues tracking down the paperwork needed or having problems trying to prove your identity.

To help, we have gathered together some useful links below.

Useful links 

Download our How to change your name checklist PDF 

Missing decree absolute – you can get a copy from the court that issued it – find a court in England & Wales here 

Official copies of birth and marriage certificates can be ordered online here.

This article was published on Tuesday 13 August 2019 and costs were correct at the time of publication. 

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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