Changing your name after divorce


One of the many questions we get asked by clients is how and when in the divorce process they can legally change their name. Whilst your name is a crucial part of your identity, some people feel strongly about changing their name during or after the divorce process as a way of helping bring some closure on this chapter in their life.

By law it is possible for a person to simply choose to adopt a new name and start using it. However, to update official records like a passport, driving licence, bank accounts etc a more formal process must be followed.

If a person is at the end of their divorce and has received a Final Order (previously known as a Decree Absolute) from the Court, this can be presented along with the marriage certificate and birth certificate to various institutions along with details of what name the person now wishes to be known by.

However if someone is still in the middle of a divorce and really wants to change their name, instead of using a Final Order, a Change of Name Deed can be produced setting out the person’s old name and what name they now wish to be known by.

Every company or organisation that a person is registered with, each will require specific documentation that will vary from organisation to organisation. So, here are our tips to get you started:

  1. Prioritise changing your name on a form of photo ID such as passport or driving license first, 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.
  2. Set aside a day to get all your name changes completed in one day.
  3. Check what is needed for each organisation before you begin the process to ensure you have everything you need.
  4. Keep track of who you have contacted and when, and keep a record of when each name change is completed so that you have a clear view of your progress.

If you have any queries about changing your name after a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership please contact us.

Tina Kingsbury is a solicitor in the family team at Barker Gotelee, solicitors in Suffolk.

Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk