How do I change my name after marriage?
How do I change my name after marriage – is a question I hear often- hence this blog!
Here’s the rundown for the bride & groom/bride & bride/ groom & groom getting married in Australia.
So, it might be a good place to start to list your options. It is not a legal requirement for one of you to change your surname. It is an entirely personal decision. But maybe you can’t wait to change your last name! ( My husband’s name is Robert Robertson. He offered to change his name. Maybe I should’ve said yes, poor thing :)).
Or maybe you like the tradition. Many people I speak with who want to have kids, want the whole family unit to share the same last name. In any case, here are the options:
Change of name options after marriage
- You can take your partner’s surname
- Your partner can take your surname
- You can combine your name and your partner’s name with a hyphen (the old ‘double-barrelled’ name- fancy!)
- You can create an entirely new name- for this option, you need to apply for a Change of Name Certificate through Births, Deaths and Marriages. It is easier for one spouse to change their name to this new name prior to the ceremony; then the other spouse only needs to show their marriage certificate to the relevant bodies after the ceremony to change their name as well (see below for more detail)
SIDE NOTE: – can we please drop the term ‘maiden name’?
“English: nickname from Middle English maiden ‘young girl virgin’ (Old English mægden) perhaps denoting an innocent or effeminate man.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022″
Steps to take after marriage:
Get your marriage certificate.
The first step in changing your name after marriage is getting a copy of your official marriage certificate from the Births, Deaths and Marriages* in the state/territory in which you were married in Australia. (as opposed to the commemorative certificate that you keep on the day). This document serves as proof of marriage and is required for any name changes on legal documents such as a driver’s license, passport, etc. (As part of my Diamond ceremony option, I organise this for you at no extra cost.)
Decide on the name you want to use (see options above)
Change your name on legal documents and with other agencies– once you have decided on the name you want to use, you need to update your name on your documents such as your driver’s license, passport, Australian Taxation Office, Medicare, electoral commission and so on. You’ll need to visit/email the relevant authorities or institutions and provide them with your marriage certificate and identification documents.
PRO-TIP: don’t book an airline ticket for your honeymoon in your birth name and then turn up to the airport with your passport in your brand spanking new name. They won’t let you on the flight.
Yep, it’s a bit of a pain in the bum to go through the steps to change your name. There are businesses out there to help make the process a little easier for you, such as ‘Easy Name Change’. They will provide a kit that guides you through the name change process.
Just remember, the name you choose should reflect who you are and what makes you happy!
- Find the links to each BDM here