How to Change Names After Divorce

What proof do I need?

If you’re divorced it’s super simple to go back to your former name and you may already have all the proof documents needed. Once your divorce is finalised you’ll be issued with a decree absolute. Most companies that require proof will ask to see both your decree absolute and birth certificate together. A small number of companies may ask for additional identification documents, such as updated photo ID, proof you are using your former name (eg: updated payslip or accounts issued in your new name) and/or a sworn statement.

How do I get my name changed?

There’s no official registration of your choice to go back to your former name, simply start using this name at any time! You can even go back to your former name before your divorce is final (different proof documents will be needed, likely swapping out the decree absolute for your marriage certificate).  You can also choose to resume use of your former name immediately after your divorce, or several years down the track. Whatever timing you decide, it will be your responsibility to get all identification, accounts and memberships changed over. (cont…)

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How do I get all my records updated?

While there’s no official order to get your accounts updated, we recommend you start by getting government-issued photo ID changed, such as your driver’s licence or passport. Next, get your bank accounts and credit cards changed over. Most banks and financial institutions require you to visit a branch in person so that your new signature can be witnessed and original documents sighted. Your bank account numbers won’t change, but as credit cards are reissued the numbers will change. It’s handy to have your new credit card so you can update any autodebits at the same time you change names on subscriptions.

After changing bank accounts, get onto all the other companies where you have an account. This is the time-consuming part because you can have anywhere from 5 to 0ver 40 different places and each one has a unique process! This list includes utilities, insurance providers, communications, professional associations, pensions, shopping and travel rewards and any subscription services. On average, divorcees have 24 organisations to notify! The exact name change process varies between companies. Sometimes you’ll need to return a special form, send a letter, email or visit a branch.

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