Changing Your Surname After a Divorce

Even though it’s not something any of the parties involved enjoy, divorce is sometimes the only option for a married couple. It might be difficult to handle for one side or both, and there are some things you will need to settle during it.

However, while things such as dividing the belongings and assigning custody if there are any children are often taken care of by the courts, there is one issue that should be settled by the parties involved themselves – the surnames.

When you want to change a name, things are often pretty simple. Fortunately, it’s also simple if you want to change your surname after a divorce, as long as you follow the appropriate procedure. So, how should you go about this?


Draw Up a Deed Poll

In this day and age, you have plenty of transactions that are carried out online. Identity theft is a thing, which means that your documentation is basically who you are. After a divorce, you basically become someone who has a different status. Regardless of whether you’re male or female, you are no longer considered a family.

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Therefore, it’s actually vital that you inform all the necessary authorities and companies of your new status. This is basically nothing more than just a way of you protecting yourself. You’re also protecting your credit rating because your former spouse can no longer sign any joint credit agreements, which might leave you in debt once everything is finalized. And yes, we’re well aware of people who think that won’t happen to them, but you never know how things will go, and it doesn’t hurt to be protected. You don’t want your credit rating ruined when you’re building a new life just because you didn’t protect yourself.

One thing to note, however, is that this won’t affect your responsibility on any joint credit agreements that are already in place. However, it might save you quite a bit of trouble in the future, and it will allow you to establish a new credit profile if you’re someone who’s changing their name. Given that nowadays, just about every financial transaction will look at your credit report, from getting a credit card, to obtaining a mortgage, having good credit is key.


How Do You Do This?

A Deed Poll is basically a legal document that proves a change of name. There are two ways to get it, one of them is an unenrolled deed poll, which you can make yourself, or an enrolled deed poll which you’ll need to be done. Note, however, that if you’re a permanent resident overseas, changing your name by deed poll is not possible.

The difference between an unenrolled and enrolled deed poll is that “enrolling” means that your new name will be put on the public record. This is only possible if you’re 18 or over, and you will need to apply to the Royal Courts of Justice for this.


You May Not Need a Deed Poll

When you’re a woman that just got divorced, and you want to revert to your birth name, you may not need a deed poll. However, divorce documents on their own, are not usually acceptable as evidence of a change of name. This is because any divorce document that was issued in England and Wales from 1971 will not show a link between your maiden name and your married name.

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However, you can show your decree absolute, your original marriage certificate, your original birth certificate, and a signed statement that confirms you have reverted to your maiden name, for any and all purposes.

One thing to note is that your divorce documents may be accepted on their own, but they must clearly show the link between your maiden name and your married name. If, however, you don’t have a copy of the required documents, or you have yet to receive your decree absolute, you could still use what we mentioned above and change your name by deed poll.


Your Lawyer Could Solve Things for You

Last but not least, we should definitely mention that if you’re changing your name during the divorce proceedings, there’s always the option of asking your lawyer to add a request to change your surname. This only applies when you’re reverting back to your maiden name. If you’re going to use a completely different surname, again, a deed poll is your only option.

One thing to note is that when you’re done with the entire process, and you’ve got your documents that your name is changed, you should update all your documents with your new surname. Your bank information and travel documents should be first in line but do take care of everything else as well. 


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