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Changing your name after divorce or separation

Some women wish to change their name back to their maiden or birth family name after a divorce or separation.

AFTER DIVORCE

The good news is, there is generally no need to formally apply for a change of name after divorce.

If you wish to resume your maiden name, you are free to do so. 

Your Divorce Order issued by the Court, is all that is needed in most cases to effect your change of name.  It is generally accepted by most if not all organisations as being sufficient information to change your name on their records. 

In addition to the Divorce Order, you may also be asked to provide your Birth Certificate and / or Marriage Certificate.  This allows you to establish the link between your current name back to your birth name.

Of course, the requirements of each organisation you are dealing with (whether a bank, government agency, etc) may vary, so it is best to check with them as to what they require.

AFTER SEPARATION

If you have separated but not divorced, you are still entitled to revert back to your birth family name. 

If you assumed your husband’s surname by virtue of the marriage, ie. you did not lodge an official name change application with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages but relied solely on your Marriage Certificate in order to effect your name change, you are entitled to reassume your maiden name at any time.  This is the most likely scenario.

In this case, you will need to show supporting documents when requesting organisations update their records to your birth family name.  You will generally need to show both your Birth Certificate (showing your birth family name) and Marriage Certificate (showing your married family name) to provide a link between the two names.

If there was more than one name change, for example, if you were married more than once, you will need to be able to link the name changes to your original birth name and show evidence supporting this to change your name with government organisations, banks etc.

If you legally changed your name after marriage by applying to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, you may wish to lodge the appropriate forms to legally change your name back again.  However, this is not necessary in most instances as according to the law, you can take on a new name just by consistently using it.

In any case, it may not wish to outlay the time and money on registering a change of name unless you find that it is essential to meet your needs, for example, if a particular organisation strictly requires it as proof to affect your name change.

Note:  Most organisations will not accept the commemorative marriage certificate you received on your wedding date.  It will need to be the official marriage certificate issued by the Births Deaths and Marriage of your state.

 


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