This page sets out the change of name rights and options that a couple entering into a civil partnership or same-sex marriage might want to consider.
Legally, neither of the couple entering into a civil partnership, is forced to change their name. However, most couples do decide to share a surname, either by choosing one of their surnames, or by double-barrelling their surnames.
If the couple decides to share one surname, the partner who is changing their name will be able to use their Civil Partnership Certificate and will not need a Deed Poll. In the same way as a Marriage Certificate, the Civil Partnership Certificate will provide satisfactory evidence of change of name, and can be sent to all relevant organisations and bodies, along with a letter asking them to amend their records to the new name.
If the couple want to change one or both of their surnames by double-barrelling them or combining them in some way, they will need a Deed Poll. Although some organisations will accept the Civil Partnership Certificate as evidence of change of name, HM Passport Office insists on seeing further evidence, as do most other record-holders, such as banks and building societies.
Another option would be for one of the partners to take one of the surnames as a middle name. This would also require a Deed Poll as the Civil Partnership Certificate would not be sufficient evidence of the change of name.
Female civil partners may want to ensure that they can also change their title to Mrs after their civil partnership. If you are applying for a Deed Poll, you should include your required change of title in the details you provide for the application. That way, your change of title will be included in your change of name deed, and you can state in your covering letter to record-holders that you are also changing your title. However, you should be aware that some governmental bodies such as HM Passport Office do not generally specify a title on their documents, as titles are not considered to be part of your name. HM Passport Office will record some titles as an “observation” on your passport, and this would only be for some titles of nobility, some professional titles, some clerical titles and some other titles.
The rules on changing your name after you enter into a marriage are exactly the same as for a heterosexual couple. In some circumstances you do not require a Deed Poll if you want to change your name after marriage. Please see the Information pages entitled “Marriage” and “Passports” and the FAQs relating to marriage and entitled “Passports – How do I change the name on my passport?” and “Passports – Do I need a Deed Poll to change my name on my passport after I get married?” for more information.