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Changing Your Name after Marriage

Updated on May 13, 2013

Newly Weds

If like me, you have recently got married, you will realize that after the romance comes a little reality.

I have just come back from my honeymoon and although people are congratulating me on being the new ‘Mrs K’, I am in fact by law still ‘Ms H’.

I cannot sign checks in my married name yet, as I have to notify many organisations first. If the wedding wasn't stressful enough, I now have to start again with the telephone calls!

Do I Need to Change My Name?

Of course you don’t actually have to change your name. You may think that as soon as you’ve said ‘I do’ your name has automatically changed but no-one will tell you that. In this day and age it is not always assumed that we take on our husband’s surname, even if we still hold an old fashioned view.

If you decide you want to keep your name then that is fine. You don’t have to tell anyone such as your bank or employer. You just carry on as you always did, providing friends and family are aware.

If you were a ‘Miss’ you may want to be a ‘Ms’ now that you are married. Being a ‘Ms’ suggests maturity while ‘Miss’ could make people believe you are a single person.

Anyone can change this title and it doesn't cost anything.

Can I Have My Maiden Name and My Married Name?

Some women choose to have a double barrelled surname. They may do this to keep the family name or their own identity. If you had children before marriage and they have your maiden name, you could also make their surnames double barrelled.

Whatever is on your birth certificate will always remain. It is an original document and will never alter. If you change your name to your husband’s then it is relatively straightforward, but altering your name to a double barrelled one means you must change your name by deed poll.

To do this, you must contact the deed poll office and you will be charged a fee.

You can also have your maiden or married name as a middle name. Again this must be done by deed poll. You can have any name first depending on how it sounds.

Changing My Husband's Name

Traditionally the woman takes the man’s surname, but in some cases it can be the other way around.

He will however need to do this legally by deed poll and inform all the relevant people (banks, driving license, passport).

If you have decided to have a double barrelled name, your husband can do the same if he wishes. He should do this formally before the wedding. Then when you take on his name, it will automatically be the double barrelled version. This will save on additional deed poll costs.

Who Do I Need to Inform Now I am Married?

If you want to be traditional and take on your husband’s name, you will have many places to notify.

Many years ago the husband would have been the bread winner, and bank accounts and mortgages would have been in his name. Now, women are more independent having their own bank accounts, credit cards and such like. This makes the list longer.

You do not have a time limit on when to start the notifying process, but as soon as you do one it is best to do them all.

Here is a List of Who to Inform:

  • Employer
  • Banks, Building societies, credit card companies, mortgage companies
  • Driving licence, car insurance, breakdown service, road tax
  • Passport office
  • School (if you have children) and your local authority
  • Store cards, catalogue companies, dividend cards, other mail order companies
  • Bills companies such as gas and electricity, council tax, water, telephone
  • Doctors, dentist, opticians
  • Insurance companies, your Will
  • Vet, if relevant
  • Royal mail, subscriptions
  • Inland Revenue, tax office
  • Pensions, investments, premium bonds

There are multiple companies to inform, so it is a good idea to pay for a few marriage certificates. When you inform the companies, they will want an original copy of your marriage certificate along with a letter.

When you write to explain your change of name, you will then need to sign and print using your new name.


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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Luisa - people change their names all the time for various reasons. You are still the same person and can prove who you are. It really shouldn't cause a problem to get registered in the UK due to your name change.

      I work with nurses who are qualified in their home countries but need to update their qualification over in the UK to meet the standards here. Otherwise they cannot work as registered nurses, so check that in regards to your situation. Hope this helps, good luck.

    • profile image

      Luisa 4 years ago

      Hello There, thank you very much the information was very useful!

      I'm a southamerican doctor and my husband is British, Do you think that if I change my surname to my husband's I will have trouble registering my license as a doctor in the UK, since I studied in South America?

      Any ideas?

      Thank you very much for the answer!

    • jake-mck profile image

      Jake McKay 5 years ago from London

      The company you linked to is rather biased towards you buying a deed poll (i.e. from them).

      Actually, you can use your marriage certificate to change your name to:

      - your husband's name

      - your husband's name, but keep your maiden name as a middle name

      - a double-barrelled name

      And the same applies to men who want to take their wife's name. And the same also applies to civil partners.


      You can also check this stuff out with the Passport Office, all their policies are documented online (but rather difficult to read through).

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks greatstuff :) The hard work is paying off!

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Congrats on your HOTD. I is a good feeling to be given the recognition after spending hours writing. Great work and keep it up!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks Jason Matthews! It really is useful for those who intend to change their name when they marry. Thanks for the vote and for stopping by :)

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Hub Emma Harvey! This hub is an incredibly valuable tool for couples who are recently married. Thanks for your work in writing this hub and for keeping up with all the comments! Way to go and voted up!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      @Riverfish24 - thanks for your comment. It's nice to hear other people's views and how they work for them.

      @Miss Mimi - congratulations to you as well! I bet you're glad it's all done now though. Thank you so much :)

      @KathleenKat You can change your child's surname but whatever on the birth certificate remains. But if the natural parents marry then they can be re-registered. If the child has a different father (for me this is the case) you are best to seek advice from a family law solicitor.

      @crystaleyes @Ruchi Urvashi - thanks for your supportive comments. It really is interesting to hear other people's views on changing a woman's name after marriage. I thought most people did it but this goes to show that everyone is different.

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

      Congratulation for your hub being selected as hub of the day. My name remains same before and after marriage. I believe that doing this helps me to maintain my own identity. I believe in unity and family but not at the cost of my own identity. I don't want life to be unfair for women, so I believe in equality in all aspects. We all have different views. It is good to read your article and see the kind of things that some women go through.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Interesting Francescad, thanks for the info. Maybe things have changed now. I know when my brother got married they would have to pay if his wife was to have a double barreled name.

    • crystaleyes profile image

      crystaleyes 5 years ago from Earth

      Emma, your list of whom to inform is very useful for newly marrieds, I did not have any problems changing my name after marriage (12 years back).. I am happily married and have no issues with my name..... Congrats on Hub Of The Day and also a big congrats for your marriage.. May God Bless You.

    • Astralrose profile image

      Astralrose 5 years ago from India

      @Jenna-women keeping their names even after marriage is really in minority but I guess that is changing. I myself didn't change my name. Changing name is somewhat what it was before and I guess people just follow without much a bother or thinking or maybe not really a big deal.

      @jpcmc-I am a Filipina and I am keeping my name because I don't really find any reason to change it.

    • kathleenkat profile image

      kathleenkat 5 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      I did not know that you could change your children's name if you got married. That is interesting. Can you shed any more light on the subject?

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Interesting post. In the Philippines most women take on the husband's surname but recently there are those who opt not to.

    • Miss Mimi profile image

      Miss Mimi 5 years ago from On the road again

      Thanks for posting this information in such a tight, clean way. I got married last year and decided to take my husband's name eventually (at first we were considering using letters from both of our names to make a new last name we could share). It was quite a headache trying to figure out the necessary steps and paperwork. You've definitely just saved someone else some annoyance and hassle. Congrats on hub of the day and a big congrats on your marriage!

    • Francescad profile image

      Francescad 5 years ago from London

      @Jenna - you're right about the term 'maiden name', it is quite demeaning in a way when you think about it. My father is Italian and Italian women don't change their surnames after marriage either, so none of my Italian family thought my decision was odd. My husband was very supportive, and like yours @riverfish24 didn't see why it was necessary. However, his mother thought it was very strange, and I actually didn't tell her for about two years that I'd stuck with 'De Franco'.

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Congrats on HOTD Emma!!

      I didn't change my name either and am happy for husband is most supportive and doesn't understand why it needs to be done! I think it is my identity and don't thing after so many years can relate to any other name but by my own last name. Still, I think those who like to, should do is another step of celebrating a new period in life!

    • profile image

      Jenna 5 years ago

      I feel like I'm in the minority here. Not only did I keep my name (I hate calling it a "maiden name" when it's a real legitimate "name"), but my husband had no problems with it. He thinks it weird that in this day and age women still change their names after marriage in the US and Canada. Of course, he is from Argentina, and in Latin America women don't change their names after marriage.

    • Francescad profile image

      Francescad 5 years ago from London

      As someone who kept their maiden name, I found this very interesting.

      For double-barrelling you don't actually have to change your name by deed poll. On the issue of double-barrelling (both hyphenated and non) The deed poll website says: "Government departments will accept the marriage certificate along with a covering letter as proof of your name change, but not all organisations will." They therefore advise that you do, so that you have that proof.

      For anyone else that kept their maiden name, what did your husband think of the decision?

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks TattooKitty!

      OMG it really is a long process. I did the main ones, but still need to do my passport (I won't need it until next summer though). But things do still crop up. The name on my ebay delivery address is still Emma Harvey, so that's another one. There's so many!

      Thank you again - I'm sure I'll still be changing paperwork in months to come too :)

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Such a frustrating process, but well worth it in the end. I got married in January (2012), and am still faxing paperwork to prove my new name (even though my driver's license is current, go figure.)

      Your list of people to contact is very valuable (cross off EVERY one you can,'d be surprised how many things your name is attached to on a daily basis!) Excellent hub topic!

      Congratulations, Emma, on your marriage!! May you and the hubster enjoy a lifetime worth of happiness and adventure (^-^)

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      That's quite interesting DzyMsLizzy. You still have to notify people though - which takes time.

      Thanks for stopping by and voting up :)

      elanger333 - I was surprised when I went to sign my marriage certificate and they told me to sign my original signature. You don't get told that! You then have to make the decision to change or not to change.

    • elanger333 profile image

      elanger333 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      I was a bit surprised when my name didn't automatically change.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congrats on HOTD! Food for thought, indeed. I've been through this twice, now--with my ex, and then with current hubby. It is, indeed, a royal PITA, getting everyone notified!

      What I did do, many years before my divorce, was stop using my first name in favor of first initial, middle name, including on my legal documents such as social security and driver's license. I just decided that's what I was going to do, and I did it.

      No one gave me any static, or asked for legal documents. After all, my middle name is part of my legal given name, so it's not like I was creating an alias for purposes of fraud. But there, again, it was a process notifying everyone!

      You've pointed out a lot of things that people could forget. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      Thx Emma and Astralrose, but I am pretty sure that you have to decide in the hospital as it goes on their birth certificate, which can't be changed at a later date.

    • Astralrose profile image

      Astralrose 5 years ago from India

      Lauryallan-regarding kids, let them choose which name to take or maybe both of you and your husband's name. They could choose not to have any also. Here in India, they can take their village name as their surname or just a plain name.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Lauryallan - wow times really have changed. I feel as though I've been left in the dark ages!

      These days with women being so independent, it's becoming easier to keep their maiden names. As I said before, it's just personal choice.

      I know a couple who are married - she has her maiden name so the kids have both names, double barreled.

      That could be an option. Or just choose who has the better surname!

    • Lauryallan profile image

      Lauryallan 5 years ago

      I haven't gotten married yet, but I already know that I would keep my maiden name. It is such a strong part of my identity and feel that we grow into our names as we grow up.

      I'm not worried about losing my identity by taking his name. I really just no longer see the point. I guess in the old days, women took the mans name to show that they were his property. Now there's no need to do it and with divorce rates so high it seems like such a hassle that you might have to repeat if you end up divorcing and wanting to go back to your maiden name, or remarrying and changing your name yet again....

      The only issue I can see is if you have kids and you've kept your maiden name. What surname do you give the kids?

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi StephanieBCrosby - I can totally understand, especially as it feels like before I was married I was somebody else!

      I didn't really think there would be an issue, but when I began to change my name it felt so strange! But I married my husband because I wanted us to be a family. If I wasn't going to change my name to his, then I wouldn't have bothered with the marriage.

      These days it's probably more accepted to keep your maiden name or choose a double barreled name. It's just down to personal choice and feeling. Women get married all the time, so some documents will be in their old names while others will be in their married ones. My online name will have to stay as my maiden name.

      I understand the identity thing - it's what sits best with you in the end. Thanks for your comment.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey

      This was a big source of contention for my husband and me. I definitely wanted to keep my maiden name to avoid what one of the Bronte sisters called the "nobody knows who" phenomenon. My husband presented himself as progressive in ideals until he found out I had no intention of taking his name alone. That's when the server age difference reared its ugly head.

      People are still confused about my name who don't know me because I kept my maiden name but did not hyphenate. Since all my degrees and otherwise are in my maiden name, just taking his name would be too much of a sacrifice. Call me uber-feminist, but you don't understand until someone asks you to completely lose an identity you built up for decades.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I know so many women who decided to keep their maiden names. I guess I'm traditional, plus optimistic that I won't get divorced!

    • Astralrose profile image

      Astralrose 5 years ago from India

      I really don't understand why women choose to change their name and take their husband's name. I wonder more if they have changed and then later on divorce comes...

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks Simone! I am still in the process but the main places have been informed. It's so easy for the men!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I always wondered how this worked. Fantastic Hub! Also, your wedding photos are exquisite!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi donnah75 - I have just started the name changing process and I have a feeling it will take a looong time, ha ha!

      The one place I didn't mention was PayPal. As soon as I updated my bank details I realized this may be affected. Luckily for me, gas and electricity bills are in my husband's name which is one less thing to worry about.

      I can understand why people don't always bother to change their names though. I thought it was to keep on with the family name, but now I see there are quite a few (minor) complications. It's all fun though!

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Your long list of places to inform reminds me of how glad I am to keep my maiden name. I never thought I would keep my name when I got married, but when it happened, it seemed right. Great, informative hub. Voted up and sharing.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Nell, changing your name once is complicated enough, but to go through it all again would be a nightmare. I don't blame you for sticking with your married name - and it sounds like you have a bit of a reason!

      I've been putting this off, but after 2 weeks of being married I want to actually feel married! As soon as I officially change my name I will feel so much better :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi Emma, I had forgotten all the rules about changing our names when we got married, for me its the other way around, I was married for 15 years then got a divorce, we still share a house, long story! but I tend to keep my husbands name because for me I have been his surname longer than my own, and it would feel strange changing back, so I am stuck with it! lol!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks always exploring - it's nice to hear other people's experiences.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Interesting. I really never considered keeping my maiden name. After the divorce. I took my name back, something for all of us to contemplate. Great topic..Thank you..

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi nifwlseirff - it must be so difficult to be able to keep up with everything. Your name will be on a database somewhere and remain unchanged unless you're aware of it. I guess when it comes to legal things it's pretty important. Thanks for the advice.

      Hi linda - I think you may have done the sensible thing! It's quite a list of things to alter. Thanks for your votes :)

      Hi Om - of course if you have a cool name then why change it? I like my name but my husband insists I change it! My online name will always stay the same though, so I have the best of both worlds!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Very useful tips. Great job. I've heard you just got married. Congrats! I just got married earlier this year, too. I didn't change my name, though. I just think "Om Paramapoonya" sounds kind of cool, so I'm keeping this name. It's a mouthful of syllables. LOL

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Emma, helpful tips for brides who want to take their husband's names. I did it the first time around, but I decided to keep my maiden name the second time around to avoid the hassles. Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      Changing my name (for reasons other than marriage) was relatively easy. But getting all the documents updated, and my name changed in so many places was a royal pain. Even now, nearly 20 years on, occasional legal bits and pieces in my old name turn up - inheritance, will documents from parents and grandparents, an investment from grandparents.

      It's a good idea to ask your family members if they have any documents with your old name!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks Cassy. I think it is a little easier for us women who want to take on our husband's name. It's just the time it takes to go through every company - I guess like informing them when you change address.

      They do say marriage and moving are the most stressful things in life!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Changing my name was fairly easy :) The hardest part was all the military stuff that went with it. I have some male friends who have taken their wives names (which is really weird for me LOL) and just did the whole hyphanated both last names thing. Times sure have changed. Excellent list of who to notify. Voted up and useful and shared :)