After a divorce, a woman may feel that she would like to go back to using her maiden, or another previous name. For some, it may be more practical to keep the married name for reasons of family, or because she uses her married name in a professional context. A divorced woman may wish to continue to use her married name, for example at work, but use her maiden name outside of work.
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Tell people about your name change. A person is legally free to use any name they choose. With some exceptions, you can simply decide how you would like to be known and start telling people. If a divorced woman wants to continue to use her married name, use her maiden name, or a combination of both, she is free to do so.
Provide documentary evidence if you want to revert to your maiden name. This might be necessary if you want to change how your name appears with an organisation, government department or company. For most purposes, all you need to do is show your marriage certificate, and decree absolute for your divorce. The marriage certificate shows both maiden name and married name, and the decree absolute proves the person is no longer married.
Change your name by deed poll if necessary. In some circumstances the decree absolute and birth or marriage certificate are not enough proof of a change of name. This may be the case with some financial institutions or for applications for passports or driving licences. A deed poll is a formal statement, or letter, indicating that you have changed your name. Anyone wanting to change their name can write a deed poll themselves using a special form available from the Post Office, or by using an online agency or a solicitor. An additional option is to have a deed poll enrolled in the Enrolment Books at the Supreme Court of Judicature, Royal Courts of Justice, London. Enrolment means that a copy can be obtained if the original is mislaid, but the enrollment process is more costly and complex.
Consider changing your birth certificate if you were born or adopted in Scotland. A divorced woman can use her maiden name and/ or married name, and change her name by deed poll throughout the United Kingdom. A woman born or adopted in Scotland, and only Scotland, has the additional option of adding a change of name to her birth certificate. The birth certificate will show the change of name as well as any previous names and the changes will be recorded in the birth register at the General Registry Office.
Tips and warnings
- If you change your name by deed poll, you can make any other changes to your first or middle name at the same time.
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