Can I still use my husband’s last name after divorce?

Typically, when couples marry, one person changes their surname to match the other’s. Consequently, any children born following the marriage will have the family surname, too. But what happens when you divorce? Are you able to keep your husband’s last name? Read on for more information.

What are the main reasons people choose to keep their married name after divorce?

There are several reasons someone might choose to keep their married name after a divorce. Some of the main factors include:

  • Many individuals have established a personal and professional identity using their married name. They may feel attached to their name and prefer to continue using it even after the divorce, as changing their name back to their maiden name might feel like a significant loss or a break from their established identity.
  • If a couple has children, one parent might choose to keep the same last name as the children to maintain a sense of family unity or to simplify matters when it comes to school or other activities involving the children. Having the same last name as their children can also make it easier for them to navigate certain legal or administrative processes.
  • Sometimes, individuals may have built a professional reputation or have an established career under their married name. Changing their name back to their maiden name might require notifying clients, colleagues, and professional networks, which can be time-consuming and potentially impact their professional standing. By keeping their married name, they can avoid these complications.
  • Divorce can be an emotionally challenging experience, and some people might choose to keep their married name as a way to maintain a sense of connection to their past or to preserve positive memories associated with their marriage. They may have a sentimental attachment to their married name or feel that it still represents a part of their personal history.
  • Changing your name can involve a significant amount of paperwork and legal processes, including updating identification documents, bank accounts, credit cards, and other records. Some individuals might opt to keep their married name because of the time, effort, and potential costs associated with changing it back to their maiden name.

Do I have to revert to my maiden name after divorcing my husband?

Possibly one of the biggest considerations is what to do about your surname when you divorce. It is your decision whether you keep your married name or revert to using your maiden name. So, if you decide to keep it, then you simply carry on using it as usual, although some choose to change their title to ‘Ms’ or ‘Miss’ as opposed to ‘Mrs’, but again, this is a personal decision.

What do I need to do to change back to my maiden name?

If you decide to revert to your maiden name after your divorce, you do not have to change your name formally through a deed poll or change of name deed. However, in reality, you will not get very far with banks, the passport office, or DVLA just by starting to use your maiden name again, with no form of documentation.

To change your name, most organisations will expect you to provide your birth certificate, marriage certificate and divorce final order/decree absolute. It may be easier to change your passport first because you will then be able to use this as evidence of your new name.


What can I do if I’m missing some of the required documents?

If you cannot find the required documents, you have two options: either apply for replacement documents or change your name via deed poll. This is a document that makes your name change official. The benefit of using such a documents is that it is accepted by all authorities.

If you have a family law issue and you require legal advice to understand your options, contact specialist family law solicitor Vicki Rawlins. Vicki is a trusted and highly capable family lawyer and divorce solicitor and a Partner at the specialist family law firm, Stowe Family Law.

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