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Changing Name After Divorce Checklist

October 4, 2021

Legally changing your name after divorce is an opportunity for a complete makeover and starting afresh

But sometimes reverting to the maiden name can be inconvenient and many women decide to keep their married name instead. 

If you’re considering a name change after divorce, here’s everything you need to know.

Should You Change Your Name After Divorce?

Every divorce is different and there is no right or wrong answer to whether you should keep your married name or revert to your maiden name. The main advantage of changing your name after divorce is establishing a complete break from your former spouse. Once you revert to your birth name, you are no longer connected to your ex-husband legally, financially, or emotionally. 

At the same time, there are many reasons why you may want to keep your married name after divorce: 

  • You have used your current last name for years and other people know you only by your married name. In this case, it can make more sense not to change your name after the divorce. 
  • You work as a lawyer or a doctor or have a large network. Keeping your married name by which you are known to your clients or patients will ensure that your professional identity remains consistent. 
  • You find your married name more convenient to use than your maiden name because it is shorter or easier to pronounce.
  • You have a stronger personal attachment to your married name than to your maiden name. If you were glad to have the opportunity to change your last name when you got married, then changing it back might not be a good option for you.
  • You want to have the same last name as your children, especially if they are young. 
  • You don’t want to deal with all the hassle of changing your last name on official records.

Some women choose not to revert to their maiden name, but take a different last name to mark their new identity. 

Changing Name After Divorce Checklist

The legal aspect of changing your last name after divorce is easy—you can simply go back to using your previous name. However, the administrative part where you must officially record the change with different companies and government bodies is more complicated and time consuming. 

However, there are some steps you can take to make changing your last name after divorce easier. Start by making a list of everyone you should contact with the update of your name change. To make the transition smoother, start using your new name as soon as possible and introduce yourself that way to others as well.

Documents needed to change your name after divorce

Your name change request after divorce in the United Kingdom must be accompanied by a legally recognized document. This can be either a decree absolute (divorce certificate) or a deed poll, an official document that legalizes your name change. 

If your divorce certificate indicates both your married name and your maiden name and clearly shows the link between the two, it is usually sufficient evidence of a name change. Otherwise, if you wish to change your name after divorce, you need to present the following documents:

  • The decree absolute
  • The original birth certificate
  • The original marriage certificate, and
  • A signed statement confirming that you have reverted to your maiden name for all purposes

You need to take with you a copy of these documents to the relevant institutions and inform them that you are reverting to your maiden name. Many companies require original documents, so having multiple copies will enable you to submit several name change requests simultaneously. 

Do I need a deed poll to change my name after divorce?

Once you’ve obtained a decree absolute and have all the documents mentioned above, you won’t need a deed poll to revert to your maiden name in your official records. 

Furthermore, you don’t need a deed poll if you wish to revert to Miss or Ms titles without changing your name, since your title is not used as evidence of your identity.

List of institutions that you want to change your name with

There is no legal requirement to update your documents and records to reflect your name change in the UK. However, there are a few exceptions. The following documents must be kept up-to-date with your current name:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your passport
  • The biometric residence card for non-EEA nationals
  • The company’s register of directors for directors of a UK company.

The organizations and individuals you should inform about your name change typically include:

  • Your friends and family
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • HM Passport Office
  • Current employer
  • Pension Service
  • Inland Revenue (HMRC) to update your income tax, tax credits, and National Insurance
  • The local council for council tax, electoral registration office, housing benefit, and social services
  • Finances (bank account, mortgage, loans, debit and credit cards, investment accounts, PayPal)
  • Insurance (home, contents, auto, health, life, travel)
  • Your landlord
  • Your accountant and solicitor
  • Health (doctor, dentist, specialists, European Health Insurance Card)
  • Utility companies (water, electricity, gas)
  • Communications (phone, mobile phone, internet, pay TV, TV licensing)
  • Memberships (travel rewards, loyalty, store cards, professional, sports)
  • Trade unions, clubs, societies, and associations
  • Local library services and subscriptions
  • Online (Facebook, Linkedin, eBay, Amazon, Google).

Lost Decree Absolute

Marriage in the UK is dissolved when the court issues a decree absolute. This document signifies that the marriage has officially ended and that both parties are now allowed to remarry. A decree absolute entitles a woman to revert to her maiden name and is accepted as a legal document by all government bodies and companies across the country. 

If you have lost your decree absolute, you can easily order a new copy from HM Courts & Tribunal Services by email or mail. You can find the contact information of all the courts and tribunals in England and Wales on the UK government website. The application fee is £10.

You will be asked to provide your case number and the name of the court that originally issued your decree absolute. There are additional costs if you don’t know your case number or the name of the court—you’ll have to pay £45 to search for the case number and £65 to search for the court.

Northern Ireland and Scotland

If you live in Northern Ireland or Scotland, you can contact the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals or the Scottish Courts and Tribunals for corresponding services. 

A copy of a decree absolute that was issued in Northern Ireland will cost £10 if you know the case number, otherwise, you will have to pay an additional £20 to do a search. 

For a decree absolute issued in Scotland, you will have to pay £21 for a copy of the divorce decree, including the search fee. 

Lost Birth Certificate or Marriage Certificate

If you have lost your birth certificate or marriage certificate, you can get a replacement from the General Register Office (GRO). You can register and order a copy of your certificate either online or by writing to:

General Register Office

PO Box 2


PR8 2JD 

The service costs £9.25 per certificate. Note that all births and marriages registered in England or Wales have a GRO index reference number. If you don’t have this number, you will have to pay an additional £3 for the search. You can obtain your certificate the next day if you choose the priority service which costs £35. 

Northern Ireland and Scotland

There are slightly different procedures for obtaining copies of birth and marriage certificates in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Changing Your Name Before the Divorce Is Finalized

You don’t have to wait until your divorce is finalized to change your last name. To revert to using your maiden name and update your records before you receive the decree absolute, you can apply for a deed poll with the UK Deed Poll Office and follow our simple procedure.

There are several other cases where you will need to have a deed poll to officially change your name after divorce: 

  • You have got your decree nisi, but you have not yet received your decree absolute.
  • You don’t have a copy of one of the required documents, either birth or marriage certificate. 
  • Your married last name was double-barrelled. In this case, you will have to apply for a deed poll to change your name back to your maiden name.
  • You went through the formal change of name procedure to change from your maiden name to your married name. You will have to go through the same procedure to change your name back.
  • You don’t want to revert to using your maiden name but would like to change your name into a completely different name instead.
  • You would like to combine your married name with your maiden name. 
  • Men can also choose to change their name before a divorce is finalized. A deed poll will be needed for the change to take effect legally.

How Do I Change My Name?


Ready to Change Your Name?

The UK Deed Poll Office is not a government agency. Our function is purely as a document provider for the self-declaration of an unenrolled deed poll. We are here to assist in your name change journey, as we have done for over 100,000 UK residents.


Join the thousands who have trusted the UK Deed Poll Office to help change their name. Fill out our fast, simple, and affordable online application to receive your Deed Poll in no time!
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