Changing your name is not obligatory when you get married or enter into a civil partnership. It is your choice whether you want to be known by another name or keep your own.
The decision to change your name might be made for a number of reasons. Often it is because of marriage, with couples wanting to make it simpler, particularly for any children in the family.
But some people simply decide that they want to change their name for other reasons. It is totally possible to change your forename or surname, add names or rearrange your existing ones.
You can change your name at any point and start using your new one as soon as you want to. However, you may find it difficult to change documents such as your passport, driving licence or your bank account without a formal deed poll.
A deed poll is a legal document you can produce to prove your new name. It has to include specific information. You do not necessarily need a solicitor to draft a deed poll, but it may be a lot easier, as you can then rest assured that the deed poll complies with the correct format, wording and structure.
If you decide to take your spouse’s or civil partner’s name, you don’t need a deed poll. You will, however, have to send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders, such as benefits offices. Your documents will be updated for free.
If you get divorced or end your civil partnership, it is possible to return to your original name by showing organisations such as banks your marriage certificate and decree absolute, or your civil partnership and final order. However, some organisations will refuse to change your name back without a deed poll.
Changing a child’s name can be a more complex process, so specialist legal advice is always recommended if you (or they) wish to do this.
If you would like advice on these issues, please contact us and we will be able to help.