Can I change my name?

Did you know that there’s no legal process required if you want to start using a different name? However, if you want to use your new name on official documents such as your passport or driving license, you will need to provide evidence to prove your identity. A name change can include your first name, your last name, or both.

Changing a name is often a significant moment in someone’s life. It’s common for people to change their name after getting married or following a separation, but you might also want to change your name for professional reasons, to protect your identity, to better reflect how you identify, or simply because you don’t like your old name.

You do not need a deed poll to take your partner’s surname following marriage or civil partnership, although if you want to update your surname then you will need to show those record holders your marriage or civil partnership certificate to enable this change.

If you divorce or end your civil partnership, you may be able to go back to your previous surname by showing record holders your marriage certificate and decree absolute or your civil partnership certificate and final order. In other circumstances, you might need a “deed poll”.

Changing your name by deed poll

A change of name can be done by either an unenrolled or enrolled deed poll.

An unenrolled deed poll is a simple formal legal statement that you have changed your name. You can do this yourself, but it must be witnessed by two people and it may not be accepted in all circumstances. For example, banks may not accept an unenrolled deed poll as proof of a change of name.

For an enrolled deed poll, the application must be filed with the Royal Courts of Justice and the change of name will be put on public record through The London Gazette. Placing the change of name on the public record is mandatory for an enrolled deed poll, but where there are concerns about protecting someone’s identity, for example in some cases involving children, it is sometimes possible to request adjustments such as only listing the first name and not the surname.

Changing a child’s name

A change of name can be done for both adults and children. For children under 18 years, those with parental responsibility must give written consent for the change of name. In the event of any disputes between those with parental responsibility, a separate application can be made to the Court for a change of name order, which if granted can be used to enrol the change of name without requiring parental consent from the other parent.

Do I need to use a lawyer for my name change?

A change of name can be done by anyone, but it is not always as straightforward as online advice suggests. There are many agencies who offer budget friendly change of name deeds, but you should make sure that you know what the service will include. Often change of name deeds require careful attention to detail, and mistakes can lead to the application being rejected, causing more stress, money and a longer wait to resolve it.

How can Cartridges Law help?

We have dedicated name change experts within our experienced Family Law team. Your lawyer will be able to provide advice on the implications of changing your name and make sure that you have thought about all of the important considerations before starting the process. They will also make sure that your deed poll is handled correctly, providing you with peace of mind throughout the process.

To discuss a change of name with a member of our Family Law team, contact us on enquiries@cartridgeslaw.co.uk or call 01392 256854.