Changing Your Name After Marriage

Article, changing name after marriageWedding Directory Guide To Changing Your Name After Marriage

Should you? Shouldn’t you? Changing your name after marriage is still a big deal and we’re here to help you make the right decision.

First, nobody needs to change their name – it’s an intensely personal decision, between you and your partner, and it doesn’t have to be made in a hurry. Some people find the decision easy, it’s obvious to them that they will, or won’t, change their name. Others find it almost impossible to decide; they go backwards and forwards and that’s fine too. Many couples find it easier to postpone the decision until they are discussing starting a family – and that’s great. There’s no time limit on when you can change your name and there’s no longer a ‘rule’ about who should do the changing!


Getting married – options on changing your name

Traditionally a woman took a man’s name after marriage. Today, the options are much more varied:

  1. Take your husband’s surname and make your maiden name into a middle name (requires a deed poll)
  2. Husband takes wife’s surname – this is rare, less than 3% of men do this, and requires a deed poll
  3. Hyphenate both your surnames – very common for same sex couples
  4. Create a new ‘blended’ surname eg surnames Henderson and Hicks become Henderhicks
  5. Keep your maiden name for professional purposes. This is perfectly legal too – all you need to do, when you change your passport to your new name, is to indicate that you are still using your maiden name in some capacities and your new passport will contain a line saying “The holder is also known as …”

So how do you decide? Talk about it to your partner, your family and your friends. There are many views on this and being able to explore the options with a range of people is a good way to discover what’s going to be right for you. Because there’s no right or wrong way to make this decision, clear communication is vital and being able to explore this emotive issue with your partner is one of the processes that are part of the wedding planning experience.


Changing your name after marriage – the easy way

Let’s assume you’re going ahead. Here’s the lowdown:

  • You need to have your original marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate and certified copies
  • Start by telling government departments such as HMRC, Passport Office and DVLA – while most will accept a certified copy of your marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate, and a covering letter, some eg DVLA, will insist on you returning your old licence, so check the requirements. Also be aware that the passport office will charge for a new passport and that if you delay in informing DVLA you can be liable for a fine of up to £1000!
  • Inform your bank, building society and your employer – some banks may request a copy of the marriage certificate
  • You need to inform the local council for matters like Council Tax and tell your landlord and mortgage provider too, also take care to update any insurance policies you have, as they may be invalidated by an unreported name change
  • Remember to contact utility companies, your mobile phone provider, your GP and other healthcare professionals like dentists.