Should I change my name?

Separated women (who took their husband's surname upon marriage) often believe they have to wait until their divorce is finalised before they can revert to their maiden name. This is not correct. Any adult has the right to change their surname at any time.

If you are separated and do not wish to be known by your husband's surname, you can revert to your maiden name or to a new name entirely by Deed Poll. It is up to you whether you continue using Mrs or change your title to Miss or Ms. Changing your name is a relatively simple process which our Family Team are happy to help you with. It is important that appropriate documents are prepared, as you will need to produce proper evidence of your name change for banks and other financial institutions.

Changing your name by Deed Poll does not affect any divorce proceedings that may follow your separation. Neither does it matter if divorce proceedings have begun. All you need to do is notify "the other side" of your name change. All subsequent documentation relating to your divorce will then be in your maiden/new name.

Andrew Stynes, an Associate and Head of our Family Team, discusses the situation for people who have children, saying “You may also wish to change your children’s surnames by Deed Poll to your new surname or to a double-barrelled surname (with both surnames). However, changing a child's name requires the consent of everyone with parental responsibility. If your husband is your children's father, then your husband will have parental responsibility and his consent will be required for any name change.”

It is sometimes possible for a divorced woman to revert to her maiden name without the need for a Deed Poll if her decree absolute certificate and marriage certificate (which shows her maiden name) are accepted as documentary evidence of her change of name. Upon presentation of these certificates most government departments and many companies and organisations will change their records to show the woman's maiden name. However, some companies and organisations will not accept a decree absolute, in particular the financial institutions such as banks and building societies.

Our Family Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Andrew or his team, will be happy to chat about your situation and you particular requirements.