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Name Change options after Divorce or Separation

How to change your name back after divorce


They say the three most stressful things to endure in life are bereavement, moving house and divorce. Particularly with the backdrop of today’s unprecedented uncertainty, navigating through a breakup is no easy feat.

For many who are breaking up after a marriage or civil partnership the need to disassociate from the past extends to changing names after divorce or separation.

There are a number of choices and scenarios that need to be considered before changing names after a breakup. This bog gives the low down on the most common ones.


When is the right time to change your name after divorce?

First things first, this is something that needs to be carefully considered. If you are recently separated it’s best to ensure that the decision to revert to your maiden name is not one fuelled out of anger. Doing so in haste may be something you later regret - not to mention the time and effort involved to reverse - should you change your mind down the road.

There is no time limit to changing your name after divorce. For some it’s a no brainer to whip the plaster off as soon as the divorce is finalised. Others opt to keep their married name after divorce and assess things further down the road - particularly if there are children involved. Opting to have a different name to your children is something that needs to weighed up. It’s an important consideration but it shouldn’t be the only factor – who you are known as and how others address you is something you will face in your new, everyday life so it needs to be right for you.

So, what are my options?

Here we outline the most common options for both men and women who want to know how to change their name after a breakup. There is no right or wrong route to take, it’s a very personal choice. The right path will be determined by what’s most important and what feels right to each individual:

Double-Barelling for women

This is a popular half-way house between going back to your maiden name after divorce and keeping some continuity for your children or established professional reputation.

A deed poll will be required to initiate a double-barrelled surname post separation or divorce.

Creating or dropping a double-barrelled surname for men

Equally, men may also want to create a double-barrelled surname to echo the linkage for their respective children. Or, it may be that they wish to remove part of a double-barrelled surname that they entered into upon marriage in order to revert to their birth surname only. Both scenarios require a deed poll.

Going Back

This is commonly referred to as ‘reverting to your maiden name’. It can be done without a deed poll. A decree absolute or final order (for divorces issued after April 2022) entitles a woman to revert to her maiden name (birth surname) and is accepted as documentary evidence by all government bodies (including The Passport Office and DVLA) and companies across the UK. Please note, The Passport Office will need to see proof of use of your maiden name when you apply for a replacement passport - for example a bank statement, utility bill, council tax or electoral register statement or drivers licence.

Men are also entitled to revert back to a birth surname if he assumed his partners’ surname after marriage – providing the original birth surname is written on the decree absolute/final order, it can be presented as documentary evidence. If the birth surname is not shown on the decree absolute/final order we recommend supplementing it with either the original marriage certificate/birth certificate, or opting for a deed poll as the single documentary evidence. Both routes will avoid any potential questioning from companies and subsequent delays in processing name change requests.
As with women, a man can choose to change his name before a divorce is finalised – a deed poll will be needed for this to take effect legally.

Starting again

For many, one of the most symbolic ways to start afresh is to create a completely new surname after separation or divorce. A deed poll is required in order for this to take effect legally and should accompany any name change requests to government bodies and companies in the UK.

All name change requests after separation or divorce must be accompanied by a legally recognised document; this will be either a decree absolute/final order or a deed poll. Not every company requires sight of an original document, but a large proportion do - for example The Passport Office, DVLA and most financially regulated (FCA) companies insist on seeing the original. Having multiple copies of an original document will enable multiple name change requests to be sent off in parallel.

For those who only have one original copy or have lost their decree absolute/final order, it is possible to order an additional copy (which will be accepted by the Passport Office) from HM Courts & Tribunal Services. The cost for a replacement copy ranges from £11- £65 depending on the level of detail known. Alternatively, you may wish to opt for our Deed Poll Premium Print Package and undertake your NameSwitch all under one roof.

How do I change my surname after divorce - our top tips

NameSwitch has an array of affordable packages to help you blitz through your change of name after divorce or separation. If you are using your decree absolute, you can opt for either the ePackage or the Print Package. If you need a deed poll based on the scenarios described in this guide, you can opt for our Deed Poll Premium Print Package.

How can NameSwitch help?

The average name changer notifies approximately 24 different government bodies, local authorities, and companies. Figuring out who needs what can be daunting and takes 14 hours on average! Most name changers find this process tedious and overly complicated.

NameSwitch has created a UK first and only award-winning namechange toolkit to help simplify this process. Change your name with speed and ease saving you so much time and with peace of mind that you’ll get it right first time.

In just 3 easy steps you can select who you need to notify from 700 government bodies, local authorities, and companies. You only need to enter your details once. You’ll have instant access to download your pre-populated name change letters, forms and personalised instructions ready for you to print and sign.

Need our expert advice? Why not check out our FAQs or Get in touch with our UK-based support team for a human response - we are here to help.

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Learn how to change your name on your drivers licence, on your Facebook account and how to handle updating your COVID pass along with your passport


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