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About Deed Polls
What is a Deed Poll?
Why is it called a Deed Poll?
What is the purpose of a Deed Poll?
Who can apply for a Deed Poll?
How long does the process take?
Can I change my child's name?
Are there any restrictions on names?
Is a Deed Poll registered anywhere?
Can a birth certificate be changed?
Why do people change their name?
Answers to other FAQs
Applying for a Deed Poll
How to apply
Services available and fees
Services for previous clients
Apply for a copy of your archived Deed Poll
Apply for a replacement Deed Poll
General name change information
A woman's rights upon marriage
A man's rights upon marriage
A couple's rights upon a civil partnership
A woman's rights upon separation
A woman's rights upon divorce
A woman's rights upon being widowed
A child's rights upon adoption
Adding a middle name
Advice for transsexuals
An alternative to marriage
A unique gift
Changing your name on your passport
Obtaining a copy of your lost Deed Poll
Who to advise after changing your name
UK Deed Poll Service
What our clients say about us
In the media
Terms and conditions and your rights
General name change information
A woman's name change rights and options upon marriage
This article explains your change of name rights and options upon marriage.
Although you can use the links below to go directly to the different sections in this
article, we suggest you take the time to read the whole article so you have a full
understanding of all your options.
Contrary to popular belief, a woman's surname does not
automatically change to her husband's surname upon marriage. Neither will
your marriage certificate indicate in any way what surname you will be using
following your marriage. A marriage certificate simply records the names
of the couple who are marrying.
After your marriage, it is your own personal choice what you want your surname
to be. Your options, which are explained in detail in this article, are:
- Continue using your maiden name.
- Take your husband's surname.
- Change to a double-barrelled surname.
- Take your husband's surname and make your maiden name a middle name.
- "Mesh" your surnames to make a new surname.
2. Options that do not need a Deed Poll
The following options do not require you to change
your name by Deed Poll:
2.1 Continue using your maiden name
If you decide to continue using your maiden name, you do
not need to do anything following your marriage because you are not changing your
legal name. However, if you wish to change your title to Mrs, please
click on this link
2.2 Take your husband's surname
If you decide to follow tradition and take your husband's
surname, your marriage certificate provides you with the necessary documentary
evidence that you have changed your surname to your husband's (as his
surname appears on
your marriage certificate). By sending a copy of your marriage certificate
to record holders, with a covering letter, your documents and records will be
changed to show your new surname. Please note, for important documents like
your passport and driving licence, you will need to send your original marriage
certificate - so buy a few extra marriage certificates from your registrar or
minister after your marriage ceremony.
Please note, if your marriage certificate is not in English because you have married
in a non English speaking country, you will need to provide record holders with
either an official translation of your marriage certificate into English or a Deed
Poll, which is usually less expensive than paying for an official translation.
3. Options that may need, or will need, a Deed Poll
Many brides today are deciding against following the tradition of giving up their
surname for their husband's surname because they wish to maintain a link to
their family name by including their family name in their new married surname.
Options that accommodate this are:
3.1 Double-barrelling your surnames
A double-barrelled surname uses both the couples' surnames. The two
elements of the new surname can be linked by a hyphen or kept separate e.g.
Smith-Jones or Smith Jones. It is personal choice whether a hyphen is
used and which order the names are placed - although there is a tradition in
some social circles to place the man's surname last. Most couples
however decide the order by what sounds better when the new double-barrelled
surname is spoken.
If you decide to have a double-barrelled surname, a Deed Poll is
often required. Although government departments and many companies and organisations will
change their records to show a double-barrelled surname upon presentation of
the marriage certificate, many will not, particularly the financial
institutions. A Deed Poll will guarantee that your double-barrelled
surname will be accepted by everyone without question. The only way to
find out if you need a Deed Poll to get your non-government documents and
records changed is to contact, for example, your bank, building society,
credit card company and mortgage company etc and ask what their policy is
for changing your surname to a double-barrelled surname upon marriage.
3.2 A further option if you plan to double-barrel your surnames
If you will both be double-barrelling your surnames by Deed Poll, the cost of a second Deed
Poll can be avoided if your husband-to-be changes his surname by Deed Poll before
you marry. Consequently, upon marriage, you can take your husband's
double-barrelled surname, in the traditional way, by using your marriage certificate as documentary evidence of
your change of surname (because your husband's double-barrelled surname will be on
your marriage certificate). Please note, your husband-to-be should only follow the
above advice if he has sufficient time to get all the documents he will be
taking with him on your honeymoon changed to his new double-barrelled
surname, for example, his passport, travel documents, driving licence,
credit cards etc. We suggest he should apply for his Deed Poll at least two
months before your wedding to allow sufficient time to get everything
changed before you travel on your honeymoon (he is strongly advised not to
travel overseas carrying documents in different names). Your
husband-to-be will also need to notify your minister or registrar that he has
changed his surname by Deed Poll so your marriage notice can be amended to
his new double-barrelled surname. Please note, before your marriage
notice is amended, your husband-to-be may be asked to prove he has changed
his name "for all purposes" by producing supporting documents such as his
passport and driving licence showing his new double-barrelled surname.
Therefore, it is advisable to get these documents changed first so they can
be taken, with his Deed Poll, to your registrar or minister.
3.3 Making your maiden name a middle name
Although most women are happy to take their husband's surname upon marriage, many do not like
the idea of totally abandoning their family name and would like a way of
keeping a link to their family without having a double-barrelled
surname. The solution is to have your current surname added as a
middle name. For example, if Sarah Ann WILLIAMS marries Michael
JOHNSON, the new name will be Sarah Ann Williams JOHNSON. Furthermore, in
recognition of the woman giving up her surname and taking her husband's
surname, the man could add his wife's surname as a middle name too.
Using the example above, the husband would change his name to Michael
Williams JOHNSON. Such name changes
can be accomplished by Deed Poll.
3.4 "Meshing" your surnames
Meshing surnames is a term used to describe the blending
of elements of each of the couple's surname to create a new surname for both of
them. For example, if Sarah WILLIAMS marries Michael JOHNSON, they could mesh
their surnames to become Sarah and Michael WILLSON (or JOHNAMS). Because
meshing can be accomplished by Deed Poll, you could also consider adding your
original surnames as middle names, thereby maintaining a link with your original
family name. Using the above example, Sarah WILLIAMS would become Sarah
3.5 If your marriage certificate is not in English
If your marriage certificate is not in English because you
have married in a non English speaking country, you will need to provide record
holders with either an official translation of your marriage certificate into
English or a Deed Poll, which is usually less expensive than paying for an
4. When to apply for your Deed Poll
If you need to apply for Deed Polls to change your surname, there are two options to consider in respect of the timing
of your application:
4.1 Apply in time for signing on your wedding day
If you wish to sign your Deed Poll documents on your wedding day (immediately following your ceremony or later at your reception), you
should order your Deed Polls at least three weeks before your wedding
(this allows for any delays).
When you complete your application forms, please write in the comments box the date of your wedding. We will then date your
Deed Polls for your wedding day, which looks so much better than hand
writing the date. After you sign your Deed Polls after your ceremony,
you will keep them safe at home and upon your return from your honeymoon
you will start the process of letting everyone know of your change of
name by Deed Poll.
4.2 Apply upon returning from your honeymoon
If you do not wish to sign your Deed Polls on your wedding day, you can
order your Deed Polls upon returning from your honeymoon. You can
of course still order before your wedding if you wish, particularly if
you want your Deed Poll documents to hand for signing upon returning from your
your title to Mrs
Regardless of what
you decide to do with your surname following your marriage, you will
probably want to change your title to Mrs. This section tells you what
you need to do for each of the options discussed above.
you will be applying for a Deed Poll to change your name
proposed name change requires you to apply for a Deed Poll, when you
complete your application form, you can request the addition of a change of title declaration on your Deed Poll document.
Therefore, both your name and title change appear on your Deed Poll.
Your Deed Poll Pack will include an example covering letter to use when you
notify everyone of your change of name and title by Deed Poll.
you will be taking your husband's surname
If you choose
the traditional option of taking
your husband's surname upon marriage, when you send your marriage
certificate to all concerned notifying them
that you have taken your husband's surname following your marriage, you
should mention in your covering letter that you have also changed your title
5.3 If you will continue using your maiden name
If you decide to not to change your name following your marriage, but wish to change your
title to Mrs, you do not need to apply for a Deed Poll. You simply need to write to all concerned notifying them that
following your marriage, you are not changing your surname but have changed
your title to Mrs. A copy of your marriage certificate will suffice.
Please note, your title does not appear on your passport
so there's no need to get it changed.
other changes to your name
If you will be
applying for a Deed Poll to change your name following your marriage, you
can also take the opportunity to make other changes to your name. For
example, you may wish to change, add, rearrange or remove forenames.
7. Continuing to use your maiden
name for work or professional purposes
permission of your employer, it is perfectly acceptable and legal to
continue using your maiden name for work or professional purposes.
Often, there are clear
commercial and career enhancement benefits if you have a good reputation in
your profession and are well known to your
clients, peers and superiors. In some situations, a change of name at work may be
commercially detrimental and your employer will hope you continue using your
If you change your name by Deed Poll and continue to use your maiden name, you are not in breach of the declarations you make on your Deed Poll
committing yourself to using your new name for all purposes. This is because at
work, you are always acting on behalf of your employer and not in your own
If you are self-employed, you can continue to trade in your former
name. Legally, your will be [New Name] trading as [Former Name].
updated: 17 August 2009
Whilst every care has been taken in the compilation of the information provided
on this website, UK Deed Poll Service will not be held liable or
responsible for any loss, damage or other inconvenience caused as a
result of any inaccuracy or error within the pages of this website.
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