Can I Keep My Married Name When I Divorce?

09 November 2017

By Family Law & Divorce Solicitor Sarah Milner

Traditionally, when couples get married, one person (usually the wife) will change their surname to the same as the other (usually the husband’s). It is then usually the case that any children born following the marriage will also have the same surname. It’s a way of giving the family an identity.

One of the biggest decisions following divorce is then what to do about your surname; whether to revert to your maiden name or keep your married name.

Do I Have to Revert to My Maiden Name after Divorce?

It’s up to you whether or not you want to keep your married name or go back to using your maiden name after divorce. If you do wish to keep your married name, then you can simply keep using it. You may wish to consider whether to change your title following divorce to ‘Ms’ or ‘Miss’ rather than ‘Mrs’ but again this is a personal choice.

What if I Want to Revert to My Maiden Name?

Similarly to when you changed your surname following marriage, you do not have to formally change your name through a deed poll or change of name deed, you can simply start to use your maiden name again.

To change your name with most organisations, including for your passport, driving licence and bank accounts etc, you will be asked to provide a copy of your birth certificate, your marriage certificate and your Decree Absolute. It’s often easiest to change your passport first as this can then be used as evidence of your new name by most institutions, as it is a legal document.

Keeping Your Married Name

One of the main reasons why some people want to keep their married name is when they have children and want to have the same surname as them.

For others it may just be that it’s easier to keep their married name rather than having to change their surname again (bearing in mind they will have already have done this once). Not only can this take a lot of time to sort out, it can also cost money as you would have to pay to do this on a passport.

If you have been married for a very long time, it may be that you see your married name as part of your identity, as you have been known by that name for most of your life. Whatever the reason, it is your choice.

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