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What’s in a Name? Changing your name after divorce

What’s in a Name? Changing your name after divorce

Changing your name after divorce of separation is something many women want to do.

However, there is a process involved and sometimes people run into difficulties.

So, we have set out below the process for changing your name after divorce.

What documents will I need to change my name?

You will need either your official Marriage Certificate or your Divorce Order.

Do I have to formally register a name change?

There is no need to formally register your name change if you are reverting to the name on your birth certificate (your maiden name).  You are always legally entitled to use the name on your birth certificate, whether you are married, separated or divorced.

What is the best way to start changing my name after divorce or separation?

We suggest changing your name on your driver’s licence first.  Doing this makes changing your name on other documents and other organisations much easier.  Usually, if the transport department are happy, other organisations will be.  Also, you may need 100 points of ID to change things like bank accounts, so having that photo ID is really handy.

How do I go about changing my name on my Driver’s Licence?

You will need to produce your original Marriage Certificate.  It’s a good idea to have some copies certified by a solicitor of Justice of the Peace as well, so that you can show them the original and leave a certified copy.

If you can’t find your Marriage Certificate, you can order one from the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. In Queensland you can commence the application online.

To change your name on your driver’s licence in Queensland, you will need to go through the following process:

  • Complete an application form
  • Visit a Transport and Motoring Customer Service Centre with your completed application, your current drivers licence and your marriage certificate.
  • Be prepared to hand in your current driver’s licence at this time. If you do not have your current driver’s licence, you will need to pay a replacement fee.

Your new licence with your changed name will be sent to you by post.

Once you have this, you will need to go into your bank with your Marriage Certificate and new drivers licence to change your name.

In New South Wales you can use your Marriage Certficate or Divorce Order and will also need to take your vehicle registration papers.  You can find a service centre via this link.

Victoria,  Tasmania, Western Australia,  the Northern Territory, ACT and South Australia require your old licence and either your Marriage Certificate or Divorce Order. Locate a service centre in South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory,  ACT or Victoria.

How do I go about changing my name on my Australian passport?

The process to change your name on your Australian passport is similar (and the same throughout Australia).

It will be easier to change your passport after you change your drivers licence but you can do it just with your Marriage Certificate.  More information is available on the Passports website.

Do I have to pay to change my name on my passport?

If your passport does not expire for at least 2 years, you can change your name free of charge.

Final caution

If you are a traveller, time your name change carefully.  If you have international flights booked in your married name, if you change your passport, you will not be able to use that booking (and many airlines do not allow a change of name!)

Domestic flights may require photo ID in the name of the passenger.

Also, any ESTA you have obtained for travel to the USA will no longer be valid once you change your passport, so don’t forget to apply for a new one before you travel.

If you need assistance with changing your name after divorce or separation or need family law advice, contact us or obtain a free, personalised information pack now.


  1. Debbie Browne
    March 8, 2019

    I want to change back to my maiden name. I have been divorced for nearly 3 years.

    Kind regards
    Debbie Browne

  2. Tom
    March 27, 2019

    Thank you for share this great and useful information

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      May 10, 2019

      Thanks Tom – glad it was helpful!

  3. Jennifer Hetherington
    August 29, 2019

    Hi Karin
    You should still be able to change your name using the steps outlined in this post. You may need to have your marriage certificate and birth certificate translated but if you have an Australian passport and divorce order, that may be sufficient.

  4. Jenifa
    November 22, 2019

    Hi, I enrolled my daughter in school using my married name, I have since been divorced but the school will not let me change my name with out a change of name certificate, even after I have shown them my birth certificate, marriage and divorce certificate and drivers licence with my maiden name. Where do I go from here? Thanks

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      April 4, 2020

      You would probably need to produce ID in your current name – if your drivers licence is still in your married name, that is going to be considered your legal name.

  5. Sue
    December 12, 2019

    I have been divorced for nearly 3 years.
    I wish to change from my married name to my mother’s maiden name.
    I have been married & divorced twice – did not revert to maiden name after first marriage.
    Is this possible, how tricky & cost?

  6. Amanda
    December 7, 2020

    Hi, I was born and married in NSW and now live and was divorced in QLD. The solicitors handled my change of name back to my maiden name in 2005. Would my change of name be registered with RBDM in QLD? I am applying for a change of name certificate. Thank you Amanda

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      December 24, 2020

      Hi Amanda
      A Change of Name back to your birth name does not need to be registered. You are legally able to use the name on your birth certificate without the need for a Change of Name Certificate.

  7. Belinda Williamson
    January 19, 2021

    I have been divorced for 20 yrs, yet still use my ex husbands surname. My question is: my house deeds are, of course, in my married name, what legalities do I need to overcome in order to change back to my maiden name.
    Belinda Williamson

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      June 18, 2021

      Hi Belinda
      We usually don’t change them as it can be costly and doesn’t achieve a lot. When you go to sell the house, you will need a copy of the divorce documents and a statutory declaration to say you are the same person.

  8. Faiza Khan
    August 7, 2021

    I have divorce recently, i married back in my country but it registered here as well. what is the procedure to change of my name what i need to show them.

    Faiza Farrukh

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      August 7, 2021

      Hi Faiza
      The process for changing your name in Australia should be as set out in this post – you are always entitled to use your birth name here unless you have legally changed it (other than by marriage)

  9. Agnes
    August 10, 2021

    I have been annulled in other country 4 yrs ago. And I want to changed my surname now. What is the process?

    Thank you

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      August 10, 2021

      Hi Agnes
      The process in Australia is as set out above. It doesn’t matter where your marriage was annulled. You just need documents to prove your name at birth and why it was changed.

  10. Bianca
    August 10, 2021

    Hi there, I understand all of that except for one thing. If you have changed your name on your licence and passport from maiden to married and want to go back to your maiden name on those documents and with other organisations wouldn’t you need your divorce certificate/order and birth certificate rather then your marriage certificate to do so?

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      August 10, 2021

      Hi Bianca

      There is no requirement to be divorced to change back to your birth name. You can change your name before you are divorced (I did!). So, the Marriage Certificate is sufficient as it will have your birth name on it and show that you were married which is why your name changed.

  11. Desiree
    September 29, 2021

    Hi there! I noticed there wasn’t anything listed for changing your name on your Social Security Number card. Is that not a necessary step in changing your name back?

    • Jennifer Hetherington
      October 2, 2021

      Hi Desiree
      This is for Australians – we don’t have Social Security cards

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