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How to Change Back to Maiden Name After Divorce in Australia

Published on October 20, 2023

    Christopher Kissoglou Family Lawyer Sydney

    About the Author

    Christopher Kissoglou

    Before being admitted as a solicitor in 2020, Christopher was employed as a law clerk at one of Australia’s leading barristers’ chambers and a nationally ranked Doyle’s Guide leading family law firm.

    Before being admitted as a solicitor in 2020, Christopher was employed as a law clerk at one of Aust... Read More

    Christopher Kissoglou Family Lawyer Sydney

    Christopher Kissoglou

    Author
    Christopher’s passion for family law stems from his early experiences as law clerk at one of Australia’s leading barristers’ chambers specialising in family law. Christopher appears regularly in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia as an advocate, as well as in mediations and arbitrations. Christopher specialises solely in family and divorce law.

    For many of us, our name is extremely important. It can have an emotional, societal and personal weight.  A name can represent identity and heritage and making the decision to change your name upon marriage is a very personal decision and one that cannot be forced upon you.

    Just like the decision to change your name upon marriage is a personal decision, so too is the decision of changing name back to maiden name after divorce in Australia.

    If you’ve recently divorced and you’ve made the decision to revert back to your maiden name, you may be wondering what you need to do and everything you need to consider when it comes to changing your name after divorce.

    Our divorce lawyers Sydney have put together a handy guide to ensure you don’t miss a step during the name change process.

    How do I change back to my maiden name after divorce Australia?

    Going through a divorce often means juggling numerous decisions, administrative processes, and emotional adjustments. And often these take precedence over the status of your surname.

    When it comes to name changes after marriage or divorce in Australia, there are some matters to clarify:

    • Getting married or divorced doesn’t automatically alter your surname; and
    • You do not need to wait until a divorce is finalised to begin the process of changing your name.

    It’s also important to note that getting married in Australia does not require you to register a change of name. However, if you wish to use your married name or your name prior to marriage, you may need to follow the processes of various institutions or organisations to ensure you are able to update these details. We will list some of these organisations and institutions shortly.

    If married in Australia:

    When you get married in Australia, you have the option to take your partner’s surname, have your partner take your surname, combine your name and your partner’s name with a hyphen or leave your name as it is. For any of these options, you do not need to register a name change when you get married.

    If you wish to change your name in any other way, then you must first make an application to the relevant Births Deaths and Marriages in your state or territory.

    For those who changed their surname after marriage but did not register the name change with Births, Deaths and Marriages, if they wish to revert to using their maiden name or former name, they will need to follow the processes of the organisations and government departments they are changing their name with.

    In many cases, such as when changing your name on a passport, driver’s license, or Medicare card, you will need your:

    • Australian marriage certificate;
    • Birth certificate
    • Divorce certificate (if applicable)

    If you had registered a name change with Births, Deaths and Marriages, you will first need to apply to Births, Deaths and Marriages to change your name again and wait until you receive a change of name certificate before being able to change your name on other documents.

    If married overseas:

    If you were married in another country, there is an added layer of administration required.

    If you were married overseas and wish to go back to your previous family name, you will need to change your name with Births, Death and Marriages.

    Once you have completed this step, you will then be able to apply to various organisations to update your details, and you will likely require your birth certificate and/or change of name certificate.

    There are many different places and organisations that you may need to update your change of name with. Before we list all of the documents you may need to have updated let us remind you the documents you need to make the changes:

    • If you were married in Australia, to change your name with various organisations you will usually require your official marriage certificate, birth certificate and/or divorce certificate.
    • If you were married outside of Australia, you will likely need your birth certificate and/or your change of name certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    When it comes to the documents and organisations to update your name with, we highly recommend prioritising updating your driver’s license or passport.

    Updating your driver’s licence is generally a straightforward and simple process and this identification will be able to serve as photo ID when working your way through the list of places to update your name.

    If you do not have a driver’s license, updating your passport to your new name is a great option as this can also serve as photo ID in many scenarios too.

    In addition to the driver’s license and passport, here are some other places you may need to update your details with:

    Other licenses, like truck and boat;

    • Visa documents;
    • Bank accounts and financial institutions;
    • Car, boat, property registrations;
    • Insurance (including medical insurance)
    • Medicare
    • The electoral commission;
    • Utilities, including internet, phone, electricity, gas and water;
    • Employment details;
    • Education provider details;
    • Superannuation;
    • Centrelink;
    • Subscriptions;
    • Clubs;
    • Memberships.

    Are there any complications to changing back to maiden name?

    Not all journeys to reclaiming a maiden name are smooth. Emotional challenges aside, you may encounter logistical hurdles, especially if dealing with overseas marriages or births.

    While some institutions and organisations may have simple processes for updating details, in some cases the process may be cumbersome and time consuming.

    One of the biggest complications associated with changing a name after a divorce or separation is whether you need to change a child’s surname too.

    In order to change a child’s surname, both parents need to agree as this is considered a major long-term issue and falls under the branch of shared parental responsibility. If the parents agree to make the change, this can be facilitated via Births, Deaths and Marriages in the relevant state or territory.

    If the parents do not agree, the parents may need to take part in mediation or apply to the Court for orders to be made.

    In this situation, we highly recommend seeking the services of experienced family lawyers Australia to guide you.

    How Unified Lawyers Can Assist

    Changing one’s name after a divorce is more than just an administrative process – it’s a personal choice.

    While you may need to contend with various paperwork and legalities, knowing the steps and seeking expert assistance can make the transition smooth and empowering.

    At Unified Lawyers, we can help you. We’re armed with a team of highly skilled family law professionals can guide you through the various processes associated with divorce and separation.

    Discuss your situation with us during a free consultation.

    Christopher Kissoglou Family Lawyer Sydney

    Christopher Kissoglou

    Author
    Christopher’s passion for family law stems from his early experiences as law clerk at one of Australia’s leading barristers’ chambers specialising in family law. Christopher appears regularly in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia as an advocate, as well as in mediations and arbitrations. Christopher specialises solely in family and divorce law.

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    All information on this site is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship between you and Unified lawyers.
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