Warning: this is a long post! There’s lots to know!
Once you are married, one or both of you may wish to change your surname. To make this process a little easier for you I have provided information about what is required by some organisations to change your name. There are also many resources available online to help you with changing your name, including some name-change kits you can purchase.
Please note you don’t actually need to change your name on any documentation if you don’t want to. Many newlyweds use their married name in social circles but keep their birth name on official documentation or for professional purposes. Also be aware that this is not a formal name change process through Births, Deaths and Marriages; you will not be issued with a new birth certificate as you would if you were formally changing one of names given to you at birth for a reason other than marriage.
It’s also worth remembering that men are also able to change their name after marriage if they so desire. There are several options available to all newlyweds. The Australian Passport Office has some information on this. The information below was a direct quote from an older version of their website, and similar information can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website:
“The applicant (either bride or groom) may choose one of the following surname name options from the surnames appearing on their registered marriage certificate:
- Retain their existing surname
- Adopt their spouse’s surname
- Add their spouse’s surname to their own surname, with or without hyphens, before or after their existing surname.
For example if Lisa Smith marries Tom Jones her name after marriage could be:
- Lisa Smith
- Lisa Jones
- Lisa Smith Jones
- Lisa Jones Smith
- Lisa Smith-Jones
- Lisa Jones-Smith.”
Likewise, Tom Jones can also assume any of those names. This advice is appropriate for marriages and registered relationships.
The first step is to apply for a Registry Issued Marriage Certificate. You can go right ahead and change your name on Facebook and some other places on the day of your wedding, but most legal entities won’t change your name without this official documentation. Please note the decorative certificate you receive after your wedding ceremony is NOT sufficient evidence for most organisations to change your name.
For most weddings I conduct in Victoria, I order your marriage certificate for you. Alternatively, the easiest way to apply for a Registry Issued Marriage Certificate in Victoria is to apply online to Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria. If you are married outside Victoria, you will need to apply to the appropriate Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory in which you were married.
Please note that outside peak wedding season it takes approximately 4 weeks for your marriage to be registered after the ceremony (up to 8 weeks during wedding season, November-March), and it can take a further 2 weeks to produce the marriage certificate.
Once you receive your Registry Issued Marriage Certificate you will then be able to change your name on your Driver’s Licence and Passport. The requirements to change these documents in Victoria are:
You must visit a VicRoads office and show them:
- Marriage certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Your Driver’s Licence (current or expired less than two years ago).
You will need to complete a Passport Renewal Application and lodge it at a participating Australia Post outlet. You will also need to show them:
- Marriage Certificate issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages
- Your current passport.
NOTE: You can still travel on a valid passport in your previous name. In this case, it is recommended that you also obtain your tickets in your previous name – buy your honeymoon tickets in your birth name!
Now that you have your Registry Issued Marriage Certificate and have changed your Driver’s Licence and/or Passport, you should be able to change your name with all other organisations. The main places people need to change their details are listed below, however this list is not exhaustive and there may be other organisations you need to notify.
Please note these instructions are for couples married in Australia – if you were married overseas there is a different process to follow. Let me know if you need information on that!
- Alumni – university, high school
- Ambulance membership
- Australian Business Register if you’re the director of a company
- Australian Electoral Commission
- Australian Organ Donor Register
- Australian Tax Office
- Bank/s – accounts, credit cards, ATM cards, loans, cheque books, term deposit accounts
- CityLink account
- Council – rates and animal registration
- Driver’s licence and car registration
- Frequent Flyer and other loyalty clubs
- Home phone account
- Insurance – car, house, contents, health, life, insurance protection
- Internet account
- Investments and shares
- Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
- Memberships – library, sports clubs, gym
- Mobile phone account
- Online – Facebook, ebay, LinkedIn
- Pay TV account
- RACV breakdown cover
- Real estate agency if you’re renting
- Regular service providers – hairdresser, mechanic, vet, accountant, lawyer, doctor, dentist
- Utilities – electricity, water, gas
- White Pages listing
- Your children’s school
- Your employer
- Your will