It’s one of the final tasks on the wedding to-do list, but one with a lifelong impact: changing your name. There are a few options available to you, and best of all, there’s usually no official registration needed!
While deciding your new name is the fun part, the paperwork to get all your accounts and records changed over is anything but! Updating your records is not particularly difficult, but it can be time-consuming. There are online services like Easy Name Change that can provide you with step-by-step instructions and ready-to-send name change notification requests.Check Out Easy Name Change
What are my married name options?
The same name change choices are available to either spouse. These changes only require your official marriage certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
- Drop your current surname and take your spouse’s. With the clear majority going down the simple surname-change path, it is clear there is always a place for tradition.
- Combine surnames that are separated with a hyphen or space. This is known as double-barreling. Surnames can appear in either order.
- Keep your surname as it is (no change).
A legal name change is needed for these options:
- Move your maiden name to become your middle name and use your partner’s surname.
- Couples can also blend surnames to make an entirely new surname, which might look like a Brangelina-style mix-up. Take Mills and Fordyce for example, it could become Mildyce. We recommend one spouse gets their name legally changed before getting married, then the other may take this surname by showing their marriage certificate.
- Couples may want a different surname entirely.
You can take on your partner’s name as soon as you like in social circles and you don’t actually have to change your name on any documentation. It’s called name by association and is perfectly legal. (Like how Robert can be known as Bob).
How do I get my name changed?
If you’re not sure how to go about getting your name changed, here are some easy-to-follow steps to help get you started:
1. Request an official marriage certificate (or apply for a legal name change).
Once you know which name you’ll take, you’ll need an official certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. For most of us, that’s the marriage certificate. On your wedding day, you are issued with a ceremonial marriage certificate which can’t be used for any official purpose.
If you are making any changes to your given name/s or taking a surname other than your spouse’s then you need to apply for a legal name change in the state where you were born.
2. Decide if you’ll get a name change kit or DIY.
A quality name change kit, like the ones from Easy Name Change starts from $35. You won’t need to do any research and you’ll have all your name change notifications written for you. If you want to save the most time, get the fancy kit where they provide certified copies and post everything off for you! Start your name change here.
Rather save cash? Allow about eight hours to do it yourself. Research each company on your list to learn the process. Get forms and write a stack of letters and emails. Be sure to ask where to send everything and what proof to include. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes per company to go through the entire process. If you have 25 companies to contact, that’s eight hours in total.
No matter which way you go, you’ll still need to visit your road authority and bank in person so your new signature can be witnessed.
3. Decided to DIY? Start by making a list.
After planning a wedding, you might be sick of lists by now, but this is a very important one. List all of the places where you have identification, accounts or loyalty cards, or use Easy Name Change’s free checklist builder. Some good places to start:
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Bank accounts and credit cards
- Australian Taxation Office
- Electoral enrollment
- Insurance policies
- Digital (email, online shopping, digital payments, socials)
- Professional associations
- Your will
4. Research what’s required to process the name change
Some places will require you to complete their name change request form, which may be found online, while others may ask you to send in a copy or certified copy of your marriage certificate by email or post. If you can’t find the information you need on the company’s website then you may need to call, live chat or log into your account and send a message.
5. Make friends with the photocopier
Make heaps of copies of your marriage certificate. You may need anywhere from one to five copies certified by a justice of the peace. There may be a couple of places that also require photo ID (likely the super funds). Usually, it doesn’t matter what name is on your ID as the marriage certificate links the names.
6. Send! And you’re done…(almost)
Send everything out. Companies take anywhere from a few days to 4 weeks to update your account. Most companies won’t get in contact to confirm the change. You’ll see your new name when you log into your account or receive correspondence.
Keep an eye out for any accounts still in your previous name, and be sure to go through the process with these as they come up.