Whether you’ve gone through a recent divorce or separation, changing back to your maiden name after divorce/separation is a massive step.
This is both because of the legal processes it entails, and because in some ways, it reflects the finality of the divorce or separation.
Because of these reasons, we understand how overwhelming all of this can be for you.
This is a difficult time for you, and we don’t want the process of changing name after divorce adding to your stress. The aim of this article is to highlight the steps and requirements of changing name after divorce, and to simplify the process for you.
Who Needs To Change Their Names?
Changing name after divorce is a choice that some people make. There are no legal requirements as such, and it is purely up to you to decide.
This article applies mainly to those who had changed their maiden name after marriage. If you had registered a change of name with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and now wish to change your name, then you will need to do so legally.
When people formally change their name after marriage, their married name is usually registered with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Alternatively, some people simply ‘adopt’ their partners’ surnames without registering it anywhere.
If you have registered a change of name with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages, then the primary step to changing name after divorce is filing a new application again to legally change your name. This application is made to the Department of Justice, and particularly to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
What Documents Are Needed?
The documents needed for changing name after divorce include either: –
- Birth Certificate,
- Marriage Certificate or
- Divorce Order (where applicable).
Some supporting documents will also be required. Supporting documents are needed to make sure that there are no risks of identity fraud being committed.
Valid supporting documents include one with a photograph, one with a signature, and one with an updated, current address. Typically, these could include a driver’s license, a passport, and a utility bill such as a recent electricity bill.
The application process usually consists of completing an application form, providing the important documents along with all supporting documents, and paying the name change fee. An additional fee will apply to obtain a Change of Name certificate. A police check will also accompany your application, and it has a separate fee.
Where To Update This Change of Name?
After changing name after divorce or separation, it is also important to remember to update the name change in all other important documents.
- Driver’s License
For instance, remember to update your driver’s license once you have changed your name. Updating your driver’s license as an initial step is important because any subsequent updates you make will require you to show photo ID. If you update the name in your driver’s license first, you can use it as a valid photo ID everywhere else.
To change the name in your driver’s license, you will need to produce your original Marriage Certificate. You need to complete an application to receive the new driver’s license.
If you need to locate certified copies of your Marriage certificate, or any other certificate, you need to contact the Registry. Different Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages operates in the different states of Australia. For more information on each state’s Registry, please click here.
To update the name in your passport, you will need to submit an application for a new passport. In some instances, you can apply for a new passport free of charge. This can happen if: –
- Your current passport has not been damaged or stolen and is in perfect condition.
- Your current passport will not expire for at least the next two years from now.
- You have modified your family name, and
- This change is the most recent name change, and
- You are able to prove that the name change is a consequence of a change in your marital status or de facto relationship status.
- Other documents that need to be updated promptly include: –
- Visa and other travel documents;
- Financial institutions (like banks);
- Registrations and ownerships – including cars, property, registered items, leases, and boats;
- Utilities (internet, electricity, gas, water, phone);
- Subscriptions (streaming services, mails);
- Medicare or Centrelink;
- Membership – including club memberships, and any other affiliations;
- The Australian Electoral Commission;
- Employers or Education Providers;
- Insurance (home, car, pet, and medical insurance), and;
- The Department of Transport.
Sometimes, organisations might reject name changes. Some common reasons for organisations to do so include: –
- in cases where you have any outstanding debts
- any previous undisclosed offences, or
- if you fail to update any previous name changes.
Another challenge is that this process entails excessive form-filling, which can get tiring. Additionally, some of these forms might incur costs.
Lastly, sometimes there are time restrictions that you need to be aware of. For instance, if you have registered for a name change in the last 12 months, you will be required to wait before changing your name “legally/officially” again.
Why You Should Seek Legal Advice
To discuss about changing name after divorce, it is recommended that you speak with our approachable lawyers at JB Solicitors. This is because the requirements can vary from state to state, and also depending on your individual circumstances. Seeking legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation is ideal to avoid any unnecessary hurdles and to complete the name changing process faster, and with ease.
Getting legal support during a stressful period will leave you feeling relieved. Our Family Law experts will build a meaningful relationship with you, and work with you throughout the process. JB Solicitors also has fixed-fee pricing for family law, ensuring a transparent and hassle-free process.