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How do I change my name?

how do I change my name after divorce

So, you are divorced. It’s been shit and the last thing you want, is to be reminded of your ex on a daily basis by having their name

Does your skin crawl when you have to sign that name?

For me, I couldn’t wait to change my name. My ex was a complete and utter pain in the arse throughout the divorce proceedings and I seriously couldn’t wait to see the back of him AND his name.  Ok, I have burdened our children with his name, but they will be fine, as for them, it’s their identity. However, for me moving forward his name felt like a noose around my neck. I wanted to be completely me again and revert back to my maiden name. 
I always thought that it was important to have the same name as my children, but I feel different now. Of course, I love my children and I suppose it was nice that we were all tarred with the same brush when I was married to their Father, but now, I AM FREE and living my own life. I don’t want anyone to know that I had anything to do with my ex in my new working life. It didn’t help that his family name is very unique. We were always immediately linked and I found that incredibly annoying after our divorce. 

I was desperate to be me again; I couldn’t wait to go back to my pre-married name. I didn’t want to be known as his “ex”

I asked a few people how I would go about changing my name and most people seemed to think that I would have to go to a solicitor. “More money,’ I thought. I started to carry out some research online just to see what the government websites had to say. When I started to google I saw that there were a number of sites which I felt were “posing” as official sites and they wanted to charge me to change my name. So do make sure you only go onto the .gov official site.

The Government Website says (as of February 2019)

“You do not have to follow a legal process to start using a new name. But you might need a ‘deed poll’ to apply for or to change official documents like your passport or driving licence.”
It then goes on to say that if you divorce or end your civil partnership;
“You may be able to go back to your original name by showing record-holders either your:
  • marriage certificate and decree absolute
  • civil partnership certificate and final order
Some organisations will not change your name back to your maiden name or birth name without a deed poll.”

What was the process?

During my experience of changing my name with the passport office etc,  all the organisations wanted to see a deed poll and I was clever enough to make 8 original copies. Ask your witnesses to sign several copies just in case you need to send off originals. This prevents the need to get certified copies later down the line. Getting a deed poll is no big deal, so don’t panic. It is easy.
It even seems too simple. 
On the above link there is wording to create your own deed poll, so I copied and pasted and printed it onto some lovely thick parchment paper from Amazon (this just made it look and feel more official).
changing your name

I got two friends to witness me signing my new signature and that was that, I set to work to see which establishments would accept the document. I actually didn’t think any of them would as it just seemed such a simple task and these days nothing is free right?  

Do I need to register my change of name with the court?

I started with my Driving Licence and Passport, I had to do one before the other, but I can’t remember which way that was… and had a bit of a faff with the bloody Government Gateway (mainly because I couldn’t remember my login), but the Deed poll was accepted. After that, it was all a piece of cake. Banks, pension scheme, credit cards, building society, they all accepted my Deed poll and that was that. I’d officially changed my name for free and I was now the proud owner of my lovely new and previous name.

I did feel different going back to my maiden name and I can only describe the feeling as a lightness. It was great to be independent of my ex.

What about having a different name to your children?

As for the kids, they couldn’t give a fudge that I haven’t got the same name as them. At the end of the day I am ‘Mum.’ I am their role model, working, earning, progressing in my career and that’s what matters to them more than any name. I am the same name as Grandma, so they like that. My eldest even said that he might change his name to mine when he is 18.  

I am a man who is terrifyingly truly happy  

Career wise, not being tainted with his name has done me huge favours as my divorce was quite locally public because of what happened. At least clients are unable to link me to past sadness and pain and most importantly I am not looked at with pity. I hold myself tall and strong and I just love being independent of him. Changing my name was more meaningful than the Decree Absolute.

Be your own best friend  

So onwards and upwards. For me, changing my name was a very simple process but extremely important in terms of healing and moving on.  

With regards to travel, I have travelled to France with the children since I changed my name and there wasn’t an issue. I have yet to travel further afield, but if I do, I will simply arm myself with my Deed poll Certificate and Marriage Certificate (if I haven’t destroyed it).  

So if you think that changing your name will change your future, then go for it. I am so glad I did it.  

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Written by The Group Hug


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