Changing a name after divorce to a name other than that shown on the decree absolute

After a divorce, women who have changed their names upon marriage often wish to revert to their former name following a divorce. There are several options available regarding the name change, some of which are described below.

Reverting to one's maiden name

If a woman altered her surname to that of her husband when they became married, this process can be reversed. The decree absolute, received following a divorce, can be used to update records. It will be accepted by all organisations, including the Identity and Passport Office, as proof of a change of name. It must be sent to all departments holding records, so that they can be updated to show the new name.

Please note that the decree absolute can only be used if all that is required is a change back to one's maiden name. For anything more complex a Deed Poll will be required.

Changing your name to something other than your maiden name

Some women may want to make a change to their name which they cannot do with their decree absolute. Most types of name change would come into this category - anything other than a simple reversion to one's maiden name. For example, if somebody wanted to change their first name, or rearrange their middle name with their surname, the decree absolute would not be sufficient evidence of the name change.

In order to make any such change, a Deed Poll document is required. This will allow one to have all of their records updated into their new name. Name change by Deed Poll is a simple process which allows one to change any part of or their entire name.

Continuing to use one's current name

There is no obligation for a woman to change her name upon divorce. She can simply continue using her current name, whether she took her husband's name upon marriage or not. In order to do this, a Deed Poll document will not be required since no organisations need be contacted to amend their records.

Further information on this can be found in our section Changing your name upon divorce.


To change your name...

  1. Fill in our online application form
  2. Receive your Deed Poll in the post
  3. Sign and date your Deed Poll
  4. Update records into your new name

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