It’s more common than you think. You hate the idea of being branded with your ex’s name. But the thought of returning to your former name is just as unappealing. Almost 10% of our survey respondents who were removing their spouse’s surname decided to take the plunge with a new name. And why not? A fresh name goes with a fresh start!
You won’t follow the typical path to remove your married name. Instead, you’ll be applying for a legal name change with Births, Deaths and Marriages. Apply in the state where you were born and once successful you will be issued an amended birth certificate. Some states allow you to apply for a legal name change certificate instead, or in addition. Either document is accepted, but if you order an amended birth certificate then you don’t need a legal name change certificate too.
If you have permanent status in Australia you can apply for a legal name change in Australia. All states have a minimum residency requirement, where you must prove you have lived in the state for the past 12 months prior to your application (except NSW, where you need to prove residency over 3 years). You will be issued with a legal name change certificate which is the only proof you need of your new name. An Australian-issued legal name change certificate is essential as foreign-issued documents are not accepted by major Australian organisations, such as banks, super funds or the passports office.
Do I need to go back to my former name first?
No! It does not matter what name you are presently using. Each state’s form allows you to list your birth name and current name. The format of birth and legal name change certificates varies between states, but no matter what certificate you are issued, it will list your current name and new name, allowing you to make the jump over to your new name immediately! Where one of our notifications says to include your ‘certificate’, simply attach your amended birth certificate or legal name change certificate and send!
How does Easy Name Change help?
If you’re legally changing names there’s a two-step process. The first step is to apply for your legal name change with BDM and receive your certificate. If your state has an application form we can provide this for you as part of your Easy Name Change kit. If you purchased a certified kit, we’ll check your form is complete, provide certified copies of your proof documents and lodge for you (application fee to BDM not included in our service). Next, you need to update all your accounts, records and identification. Our service saves hours of research and you’ll get your records updated weeks faster! We provide researched procedures for all the necessary organisations so you don’t need to wait on hold. Get ready to send name change forms, letters and emails. Simply attach your legal name change certificate, sign and send!
Forms, fees, turnaround
States are increasingly moving away from paper applications toward online applications. Great news if you are applying in NSW or Vic! Complete the online form and upload photos of your proof documents. No need to get documents certified or mailed! If you are applying anywhere else you will need to sign and lodge a paper document and provide identification that has been certified by a nominated professional. States also have wildly different processing times. At the time of writing Qld processes in 7 business days (allow time for postage each way), whereas SA is at 13 weeks.
Fees also vary considerably. At the time of writing Victorians pay only $131.50 whereas SA applicants are charged $270 (fees include one certificate).
Ready to change names or keen to learn more?
Check out our detailed article on how to change names for a detailed explanation of the legal name change process. It’s the exact same process no matter if you’ve been married before or changing names for the first time.