Now that I’m divorced, can I change my name back to my maiden name?
The short answer is yes, you can. Many women no longer want to be known by their former husband’s name after their divorce. You are not required by law to change your name back to your maiden name, but the opportunity is there for you to do so if you wish.
If your married name was exactly the same as your husband’s name, changing your name to your maiden name is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure which can be done by using your marriage certificate and your decree absolute to make the change official.
Change of name by Deed Poll
When people want to change their name at any stage of their lives, they can do so by executing a change of name deed, often referred to as a deed poll. As you’re free to change your name by deed poll at any time, you don’t have to wait until your divorce is finalised to do this. If your married surname was double-barrelled, or some amalgamation of your surnames, then you will need to use deed poll to revert to your maiden name.
It’s important to remember that you’ll need to inform people of your change of name – and that includes organisations like banks, building societies, credit card companies, the DVLA and Passport Office, your mobile phone company and your utility provider and many more besides. They will need to see either your marriage certificate and decree absolute or your deed poll before making the necessary changes to their records.
When children are involved
If you have children, you might want to change their names to your new surname. However, this is more complicated as the consent of everyone with parental responsibility is required. If your ex-husband is your children’s father, then he will have parental responsibility and his consent will be required before their names can be changed.
Keeping your married name
In some instances, women prefer to keep their married name after divorce. If you’ve been married for many years and everyone knows you by your married name, then you might not want to revert to your maiden name. Some women choose to keep their surname the same as their children for practical purposes like registering for a doctor or school. If you were not the party who wanted the divorce, you might prefer to use your married name. If you intend to keep it, then you will need to note this in your divorce decree. Your husband cannot require you to drop his name.