How Do You Change Your Name After A Divorce or Separation?

Share article

When you’re going through a divorce as a parent, it can feel like there are an endless list of legal, financial and admin tasks to complete. And while many divorced parents opt to keep their married name for various reasons, including wanting to keep the same name as their children, for many it is a key step in moving on. So how do you decide which name to go by post-divorce or separation? What are the options? And just how do you change your name after a divorce or separation? We’ll explore all the options and answers in this post. 

cup saying 'hello my name is' on it
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Changing your name post-divorce can feel like the full stop at the end of one chapter and a capital letter at the start of the next. However, changing your name, especially when you have children, is a decision that requires careful consideration and an understanding of the options and legal requirements. 

Frolo has partnered with NameSwitch, the experts on legal name changes, to provide answers. Let’s run through the available options, necessary documents, and practical tips for a smooth transition.

'I created NameSwitch after I divorced and had first hand experience of how time sapping it was to research and notify everyone I had accounts with. I couldn’t find a service to help me, so I built one! We help thousands of people fast track to their new name every year and are proud to be the only UK-based company to offer a name change notification service (with deed poll too for those who need it).' - Cécile Mazuet-Eller, NameSwitch Founder & MD

Should You Change Your Name After Getting Divorced?

What’s in a name? A lot! The name we go by can have real meaning and impact, and having ownership of your name, especially if you’ve been through a difficult time, can feel incredibly significant. If you’re recently divorced, going through a separation it’s important to take your time and consider your options. For single parents there are several things to think about. 

Many single parents opt to keep their married name even once divorced if it is the name they share with their children, because it’s important to them to share a surname with their kids. But even though it’s important to consider what’s right for your children, you shouldn’t overlook your own wants and needs in this department. If your married name is going to cause you pain every time you write it or tell someone it, it might be time to consider changing it. You deserve to have ownership over your identity. If you need help making the decision, why not jump onto the Frolo App and talk to your fellow single parents about how they decided?

When Should You Change Your Name When Getting Divorced?

Take your time and don’t make big choices at times of high stress or emotion. There is no specific time limit or legal replace requirement for changing your name after divorce, and there is no legal obligation to do so. Some people choose to keep their married name, while others prefer to make the change as soon as they are divorced. Some wait until they meet a new partner and are considering a subsequent marriage. 

What Are The Options Around Changing Your Name?

So you’ve decided to change your name? Right, so what are you going to change it to? There are three choices when it comes to name changes post-divorce or separation. 

  1. Revert to Your Maiden Name: You can go back to your birth surname, and this can be done with or without a deed poll. A decree absolute or final order certificate serves as evidence for this change and is accepted by government bodies and companies in the UK.
  2. Double-Barrel: This option involves creating a hyphenated surname, which can be a compromise between reverting to your birth name and maintaining a link for your children or professional alias. A deed poll is required for this change.
  3. Start Afresh: If neither of these options feels right for you, you can create a completely new surname as a symbolic way to start afresh. This option requires a deed poll for legal recognition, and you will want to take your time deciding on what the right name for you is. 

It is worth noting that men can also change their name using the same options and supporting documents outlined for women.

What Documents Do You Need For A Name Change?

  • Reverting to Maiden Name: Decree absolute or final order along with a marriage/civil partnership certificate or birth certificate.
  • Double-Barrelling or New Surname: A deed poll is necessary. 
  • You will need multiple original copies (two to four) of the required documents for sending out name-change requests to various government bodies and companies. (Not all need to see an original copy, some will accept a photocopy/scanned copy.)

Help With A Name Change Post-Divorce

Can anyone help with this? Yes! NameSwitch offers affordable packages to help simplify the process of changing your name, whichever option you’re going for. The experts at NameSwitch are the go-to resource and offer a number of free resources and guides. The average adult needs to notify 24 government bodies, local authorities, and companies of their change in name. If you want to cut through the time-consuming process of updating your name,  they have an array of name change notification and deed poll packages to help. Having a ready-to-sign name change toolkit at your fingertips can be an incredible support, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything else on your to-do list (which, as a single parent, is probably long enough already). 

Whether you choose to change your name or not, remember that there are always thousands of single parents going through the same thing as you at the same time. You’re not alone, and the Frolo Community is always here to help.  

This post was written in partnership with NameSwitch. By supporting our partners you continue to help support the Frolo App