After you divorce or end your civil partnership you might want to change back to your maiden name. You can do this by showing record-holders such as the DVLA and banks your marriage certificate and decree absolute, or your civil partnership certificate and final order.
Unfortunately, the courts do not return marriage certificates once a divorce is finalised so you will have to order a replacement. Read more here.
An alternative is to change your name by deed poll and present this document instead.
Changing your name by deed poll
A change of name deed is simply a document that contains the following three declarations:
- I am abandoning my previous name.
- I will use my new name at all times.
- I require all persons to address me by my new name only.
You must sign and date this declaration in both your old and your new name. Your new name must contain both a forename and a surname and be pronounceable, as well as following other common-sense restrictions specified by the Home Office.
Two unrelated witnesses have to sign the deed poll and give their name, occupations and addresses.
You can apply for it yourself here using Ministry of Justice form LoC020 for £42.44.
Changing a child’s name by deed poll
Changing your child’s name by deed poll is more complicated. Everyone who has legal responsibility for the child must give their consent to the change in an accompanying letter, and if the child is aged 16 or 17, he or she should also approve.
Changing your name on a Passport
To change the name on your passport after your divorce, you will have to renew it, which costs £82.50. However, you can use a passport in your married name until it expires. Just make sure that your travel documents match the name on your passport, or you may not be allowed to travel.
Changing your name on a driving licence
You must immediately change your name on your driving licence if you decide to change your name following divorce. There is no charge for doing this using form D1 Application for a driving licence. You can receive a fine of up to £1000 if you fail to notify the DVLA of a name change.
Updating the Electoral Roll
It’s important to update your details on the electoral roll, as it will affect your credit rating in your new name. You can do this for free here.
Beware of solicitors trying to charge you to register a name change at the Land Registry. You can do it for free using form AP1 here.
Other organisations to notify of your name change.
Here is a list of other organisations that you should notify if you decide to change your name after divorce. None of these should charge you to make the change:
Banks, doctors, dentists, employers, nurseries, schools, HMRC, insurance companies, TV licensing, subscription services such as Netflix or Sky, council tax, and utility companies.
Can you change your name before divorce?
Yes, you can change your name to your maiden name or any other name before your divorce. However, if you change your name to one that isn’t your maiden name, make sure that you keep a copy of your name deed because when you divorce, you will need to send the court a copy of your marriage certificate and name deed.
Can I divorce if I’ve lost my name deed?
You cannot get a copy of a name deed, so if you’ve lost your name deed and want to get a divorce, the easiest and quickest way to resolve this is to apply to change your name by deed poll again.
Can I get a divorce if my name doesn’t match my marriage certificate?
To get a divorce you must provide the court with a copy of your marriage certificate, and your name must either be your married name or match your previous name shown on your marriage certificate. Sometimes people start using a different name without officially changing it by deed poll or lose their deed poll certificate. In this situation, the court will not allow your divorce to proceed if your name does not match your marriage certificate. The quickest way to resolve this is to apply to change your name by deed poll again and submit this to the court.