Changing your name after marriage

Changing your name after you get married

Something I often get asked is 'how do I change my name after I get married'?

The wedding certificate that you receive on your wedding day from your marriage celebrant and signed by the bride and groom, two witnesses and celebrant  is a beautiful keepsake wedding certificate.  Unfortunately you are unable to use it to legally change your name :(  Some organisations require you to show evidence from the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages that you have legally changed your name after marriage, these types of changes are for bank accounts, mortages, drivers license and passport.  If you want to change your personal email address or your work email address you do not legally need to show evidence.  Some places will require evidence of your marriage name change and some will not.  You are not required to change your name at all, and there is no time limit on when to change it should you decide to, you could wait until your drivers license expires to change it should you wish, saving you a little money, but you can certainly change it straight after marriage also if you choose.

Each state in Australia has an Office of Births Deaths and Marriages where you can apply to change your name.  This is the link to the Queensland Office of Births Deaths and Marriage website marriage section should you need any general information about marriage in Queensland.

There are two options should you choose to change your name after marriage and they can be a little confusing, I'll try to explain below:

  1. Change your surname to your husband's surname

    Changing your name to be a straight swap of your 'maiden' name to be your new husband's surname does not require you to officially change your name via the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  You do however need to request a Marriage Certificate after you get married.  If you were married in Queensland you can find out how to apply for your Marriage Certificate in Queensland in this link.  It is a cheaper process than changing your name (see point 2 below); at the time of writing it is $45 to apply for a Marriage Certificate from the Queensland Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  You will need certified copies of your proof of identity.

  2. Change your name to something else eg hyphen your surname and your husband's surname

    Should you wish to change your name to something else after marriage for example double barrel or hyphenate both your surname with your husband's surname, unfortunately it is a different process and treated as a 'change of name'.  You can find out more details about changing your name on the Queensland Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages Changing Your Name page. This process is similar to option 1 above, but there is a higher fee.  At the time of writing it is $171.40.  You will need to provide certified copies of your identity and certified evidence of Australian residency.

Once you have your Change of Name certificate or your Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages Marriage Certificate you can then proceed to take it to the bank, transport authority, passport and other institutions that require you to show evidence of your marriage to change your name.

If you know you are going to change your name, a tip is before you get marriage during your engagement write a list of everyone you receive correspondence from (via email and 'snail mail').  This will help you track all of the places you may need to contact after you get marriage, should you wish too.  Some places only send correspondence once or twice a year so thinking about it before you get marriage may help you with a detailed list to get through.

Happy days ♥

T x