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Change of Name

Change of Name after a wedding

Some women who marry choose to change their surname to their husband’s surname. This is usually as a matter of custom and not of law.
Some women however do wish to formally change their name with the Registry. It’s simply a matter of choice.

Keep Your Name


Can’t let go? Keeping your own name means you’ll avoid the hassle of alerting everyone you know to the change. On the flip side, dealing with traditional in-laws who don’t understand your reluctance to take their name won’t be so simple.

Take His Name

Taking your husband’s name is the most traditional option. Be prepared to receive twice as much junk mail. Also mailing lists won’t know you’re the same person. But everyone else will figure it out, and you’ll avoid confusion when you have kids.

Take His Name (Sort Of)

You could use your husband’s name legally and socially but continue to use your own for business purposes. Alternatively, you could keep your own name legally and professionally but use his in social situations.

Take Both

Or you could decided to keep both names and hyphenate them. If both names work well together, then this could be an option. It gets trickier if the names don’t work together or they have already been hyphenated. In this case then it gets a bit much.

If you decide to change your surname to your husband’s name you need to notify a few authorities. The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and the Passport Office need to view your official  marriage certificate from the Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages. I can apply on your behalf for this certificate.

The RTA and Passports Office will not accept the Certificate of Marriage issued by the marriage celebrant on the day of the marriage, as it does not contain security features and can be easily reproduced. It also does not contain the full details of the parties to the marriage such as parents’ details.

Institutions such as banks, the Passport Office and transport authorities require proof of identity so if you change your name you need to have proof of the change.

Please note

If you were married in Australia a formal Change of Name is not required if you wish to take your husband’s name. A Standard Marriage Certificate is usually sufficient evidence to have personal documentation, such as your driver’s license and passport changed to your married surname.

So if you hold an Australian passport and want to change your name after you marry, be sure to change it within 12 months of the wedding – otherwise you will have to pay for a brand new passport. If you change it within 12 months, it is free of charge.

The new Australian Passports Act (Cth) 2005 means that if you no longer use your birth name, it may be difficult to get an Australian passport in the name you use. Unless you can show documents that explain your change of name. In most cases, you will need to use your birth name on your marriage documents (unless you are using a previous married name). If you really do not want to use your birth name on your marriage documents, you may need to apply for a Change of Name Certificate with your local Births Deaths and Marriages Authority.

For more details please go to http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au

Can I change my child’s name?

You can change a child’s name in certain circumstances. Parents or guardians should contact us for further advice before downloading one of the relevant forms in our forms section.

How many times can I change a name?

For adults (people more than 18 years old) – you can only register a change of name once every 12 months unless a NSW magistrates court approves the change because of exceptional circumstances.

Or for a child between one and 18 years old. You can register a change of name for a child’s first name once between one and 18 years old and surname once every 12 months. Unless a NSW magistrates court approves otherwise.

For a child less than one year old – you can register a change of name for a child’s first name before the child turns one year old.

You can register a change for a child’s surname once every 12 months unless a NSW magistrates court approves otherwise.