There are many reasons for wanting to change your name including:

  • If you get married or enter into a civil partnership or want to take your partnerís name
  • If you get divorced dissolve a civil partnership or end a long term relationship
  • To take a double-barrelled name after you marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • As part of a change of gender
  • Because you dislike your current name
  • To separate yourself from a particular person or a time or event in your life
  • To stop a former partner finding you
  • To feel more part of a new family for example a step-family
  • You may also want to change a childís name

You can change your name at any time as long as you are 18 or older and as long as you are not doing it to commit fraud. There is no legal process you must follow, All you need do is start using your new name and tell people that you now want to be known by this name. You may however, be asked for evidence of your name change, for example of you want a new driving licence or passport.

When you get married you do not have to take your partners name. However, if you do, your marriage certificate will be enough evidence of your new name to be able to apply for a new passport etc. If you want to keep the name you used before marriage, you donít need to do anything. You can also choose to double-barrel you and your husbandís name. You donít both have to use the new name. However, if both of you want to use a new name , you may be asked for formal evidence other than the marriage certificate. If a man takes his wifeís surname after getting married, the marriage certificate may be enough evidence of that change, however, because this is less usual than a woman taking her husbandís name you may have to provide some other evidence.

If you want to go back to your former surname after divorce, you do not need to wait for the divorce to be finalised however if you need to provide evidence of your change you will normally need to show your marriage certificate and a copy of your decree absolute. You can of course choose to continue to use your married name after divorce for example to have the same surname as the children of the family.

The most common way of evidencing your change of name is by having a Deed Poll or Change of Name Deed drawn up.

The document is evidence of your change of name and will require you to abandon your former name and use only your newly chosen name at all times once the deed is signed. Divorce Services offer a Change of Name Deed service. Please see our Change of Name Deed service page for information about the service.


A childís name can be changed by Change of Name Deed providing all those with parental responsibility have consented to the name change. If the child is 16 years or over he or she can apply for their own Change of Name Deed without needing to obtain parental consent. If you are a parent with sole parental responsibility a letter confirming the circumstances will be required to accompany the Change of Name Deed.

Parental Responsibility is a legal definition. For further information and to determine who has parental responsibility for your child please refer to our information sheet Children Matters