Change of Name in the UK: A Legal Guide | Family Law Howells Solicitors
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Change of Name in the UK: What You Need to Know

Howells Solicitors

21 Aug, 2023

Changing your name is a big decision, and it’s important to know the process involved. Whether you’re getting married, going through a divorce, or simply want to change for personal reasons, it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements and procedures involved in making a change of name in the UK.

In this advice article, we will cover all aspects of legally changing your name in the UK – from reasons why people change their names, for both adults and children, and types of name changes. We’ll also discuss the legal requirements and objections involved in changing a minor’s and adults name.

Reasons for Changing Your Name in the UK

There are several reasons why individuals may choose to change their name in the UK, including changing their maiden name upon marriage or reverting back to it after a divorce. Changing your name upon marriage is a common practice for many individuals who wish to take on their spouse’s surname.

Another reason for changing yours or your child’s name, including your married name, could be personal preference. Some individuals may simply not like their given name and wish to adopt a new one that better reflects their identity or cultural background.

Gender reassignment can be a catalyst for legal name changes, where change offers a fresh start and allows them to align their identity with their true self. Additionally, personal preferences and self-expression are valid motivations for changing one’s name.

In addition, some people may change their names for professional reasons, especially in the United Kingdom. This could be especially relevant for actors, performers, or writers who need a stage/pen name. Changing your name in the UK is a simple process that can be done through a legal document known as a deed poll.

Whilst others may need to change their name for legal documentation and identification purposes, such as updating their birth certificate or driver’s license.

Marriage or Civil Union

When it comes to changing your name after marriage or civil union, the process is relatively simple. All you need is a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate as proof of the name change, which can be obtained by applying for a marriage license. It’s important to contact relevant authorities such as the new passport office and DVLA to update your official documents, including your driving licence. Don’t forget to inform banks, employers, and other organisations about your new name.

Divorce or Dissolution of a Civil Partnership

You may choose to change your name following divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. After the process, it’s important to update official documents like your driving license. Providing the decree absolute or dissolution order is crucial for the name change. Notify banks and utility companies about the change. In some cases, a change of name deed process may be necessary.

Personal Preferences and Gender Reassignment

Changing your name based on personal preferences or gender reassignment allows for self-expression and alignment with one’s identity. To legally change your name, official documents such as a change of name deed are required as proof of your name. It is important to update records with organisations and inform relevant bodies about the name change.

Types of Name Changes

Adults in the UK have several options for changing their name. They can use a change of name deed, get married or enter into a civil partnership. Children’s names can be changed through a court order or a change of name deed, depending on the circumstances.

Changing Names for Adults

Changing your name as an adult typically involves completing a legal document known as a change of name deed or through marriage. A change of name deed serves as proof of your intent to change your name, while getting married allows you to adopt your spouse’s surname or choose a new one. 

Changing Names For Children

Changing the name of a child requires a court order or a change of name deed. With the consent of each person with parental responsibility, a change of name deed can be used to change a child’s under the age of 16’s name. Proof of identity is required in the process, and both parents who have parental responsibility must consent to the name change. Once a child is 16, only one parent’s consent is required to change their name.

In cases where one parent does not consent to a child under the age of 16’s name being changed, a court order is necessary.

The parent seeking the change of name would apply for a specific issue order, and in doing so must demonstrate that it would be in the child’s best interests to make the order. The court can be reluctant to make an order to change a child’s name if this were seen to change their sense of self-identity, as their name is considered an integral part of their identity.

Seeking guidance from professionals experienced in name change processes and following proper legal procedures, including the legal process for changing a child’s name, is crucial for a successful name change for a minor.

What Happens After You Legally Change Your Name?

After legally changing your name, it is important to update your records with various organisations and inform relevant bodies, including the HM Passport Office, banks, government agencies, and educational institutions. Provide them with the necessary legal documents, such as a change of name deed or marriage certificate. It is also crucial to notify your employer and update your name on employment-related documents. Make sure to update all personal information to reflect your new name.

Seeking professional help is crucial for a smooth process. Legal assistance can provide guidance, ensure accurate documentation, and offer advice on potential challenges. With a family solicitor’s support, you can navigate the process confidently and minimise errors, providing peace of mind throughout.

How Does Changing Your Name Affect Your Personal Identification Documents?

Changing your name can have implications on your personal identification documents. It’s important to update your passport, driver’s license, and financial records to ensure consistency and avoid any confusion. Informing relevant government agencies and organisations about your name change is crucial for accurate documentation.

How Can A Solicitor Help?

A family law solicitor can help the process and take away most of the stress when changing your name. They can prepare your application and carry out proper procedure to ensure its legal status. 

You can email Howells to make an appointment at [email protected] or call us:

Sheffield0114 249 66 66

Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90

Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00

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