Around 80 per cent of Australian couples will experience a name change after marriage. Taking your spouse’s name is a custom and not required by law. While the same name change options are offered to both spouses, most brides make the change because they want to share the same name as their new family.
The options for name change after marriage are:
- Changing your surname to your partner’s.
- Taking a double-barrelled surname (using both surnames, in any order and separated by either a space or hyphen).
- Leave your name as is and take no action.
- Take a different surname. This requires a legal name change with BDM.
This all sounds rather straightforward, but newlyweds have to navigate a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy! We’ve listed our top tips to you save time!
1. Buy an Easy Name Change kit
Nothing kills newlywed bliss like making 20 phone calls to research name change procedures. Buy a name change kit. We’re not saying this for the sake of promoting our own service, but you really will save 8 hours of administrative hell. We are so sure you’ll love it that we will cheerfully provide a full refund if you’re not happy for any reason, so what do you have to lose?
2. Allocate half a day for visiting offices in person
Start the name change process by updating your driver’s licence in person. A government-issued photo ID (such as your passport or driver’s licence) provides solid proof of your new name. Organisations are less likely to cause issues if you can show your name is already changed on your photo ID. Banks with large branch networks always require you to attend any branch with a photo ID and your original certificate. Centrelink rounds out the list with all name changes done in person. Arm yourself with your original marriage certificate, take half a day off work and get it done.
3. Copies & certified copies of your marriage certificate
Skip this step if you’ve purchased a certified kit. We take care of all copies and certification of your proof documents.
Bought a kit? Simply count how many photocopies and certified copies of your marriage certificate are needed. This is listed at the bottom of each letter and mailing slip.
Saving the bucks? Call each company and find out what proof you need and how to send it in. For any companies requiring a marriage certificate, ask if it needs to be certified by a JP or other professional. Make the required number of copies and locate a JP. It’s a good idea to get a couple of extra certified copies! Use our free name change checklist to get started.
4. Write your letters & fill in forms
Skip this step if you purchased an Easy Name Change kit!
Most companies need you to mail in a letter, form or send an email. Include the required proof. A small number of companies need you to call or log into your account.
There’s a different process for each company. You’ll have a number of company forms and varying proof of name change requirements. Make sure you ask what kind of proof you have to send and if it has to be certified. If in doubt it is best to include more evidence of your name change (eg: a photocopy of an updated driver’s licence) so that your name change is less likely to be rejected. Most superannuation funds and any banks that allow name change by mail require your marriage certificate to be certified and about half also need certified photo ID.
5. Set yourself a time limit
It’s best that you set a time limit to get all the changes done. If you don’t get it all done in one go, you could end up with various IDs and accounts in different names. This can be very inconvenient! There’s nothing more annoying than writing more name change letters 6 months later or having a bank loan rejected because your identity documents are inconsistent.