Now that you are divorced, you may have developed an allergy to your married name. However, before you run to the deed poll office or passport office to discard your old tarnished-self and restore yourself back to your maiden name: think again.
It’s more involved than you can EVER imagine…
The problem with your new name is – IT’s NEW.
No one knows you.
And when I mean no one – I mean the world out there (credit agencies, banks, lenders, airports, driver’s license authorities, health services and passport services etc.) doesn’t know YOU exist under this new name.
I was about to trudge off to the passport office one Tuesday and had even declared all across my Facebook network that I was
changing my name until the passport clerk asked me if I had any flights booked under my married name any time in the future. Dammit. Turns out I did. When I called the airline, it turns out my tickets were non-changeable and non-refundable. The clerk then asked me if I had a mortgage in my married name. Dammit. I sat in the corner growling whilst I casually made an enquiry with my mortgage lender. Apparently gracing my mortgage with my shiny new name would incur a £2450 charge for the privilege. Changing my mortgage would not only incur an
admin fee but it would impact my interest rate as apparently some actuary calculated that divorced was riskier than married. I would love to meet this individual and give him a piece of my mind. LOL.
After 6 hours in the passport office, several tears and a hefty mobile bill later, the passport clerk Lolly Taylor came over to me. She was
going on a break and said “Come with me Mrs Muzik, let’s have a coffee”.
Mrs Muzik. Am I actually expected to have this name forever? I WANT TO BE BORN AGAIN.
She explained that she saw this problem all the time and that women just were not told how complicated it was to change one’s name. She
said she even had people come back trying to reverse what they had done because the costs incurred in changing their names were unknown. She saw it as her personal duty to inform all these women before they pushed to be BORN AGAIN under their new identities.
She gave me some questions and considerations which I will share with you:
- Are your children keeping their married name and how will you feel about them having a different name to yours?
- How long have you worked in a particular place with everyone knowing you by your married name?
- Is your professional reputation built on your married name?
- Do your recruitment agents know you by your married name?
- How will you feel about explaining to colleagues and clients that they should now refer to you by your maiden name? Are you ready to have THAT conversation?
- Social networking sites – are you on them? Can you change your name with ease or do you need to reinvite everyone again?
- Do you want two identities? One for work and one for personal?
- Do you have any flights booked in the future in your married name? If you change your passport without changing your flight booking, it may impact your ability to leave the country on the said date
- When you change your passport, you will not be able to leave the country for a while whilst the change is being made (unless you pay the premium for the speed service)
- Is your mortgage in your married name? If you change it, is there an administrative fee associated with that?
- If you change your name, will the mortgage company assume you are divorced and thereby penalise you with an increase in interest rate?
- The costs – there are costs associated with changing passport, drivers license, registration details of your car and all assets you owe. You may need to get new passport photographs, take days off work to stand in queues to get things done. Have you priced that up?
- Insurance – your no-claims bonuses are all stored under your married name. Can you transfer those details across?
- You will systematically have to go through all of your mail and write a letter to change your name with every company you know
- You have to start at the right place (passport – so other name changes are easier)
- Be careful where u do use your maiden name – one day they may ask for ID then you don’t have it!
The thing is, you cannot half do it as this can cause issues. If your passport is in your maiden name but your driver’s license is not, it can cause problems for you in the future. Once you choose to change your name, you need to change it everywhere.
Telling the world that you are born again is a bit of a palava so allow me to assist in a small way with some memory joggers. These are some things to think about:
- Driver’s licence
- Vehicle permit and vehicle registration documents
- Health card
- Citizenship card
- Tax and National Insurance records
- Bank account(s) provided that “documentary evidence” of a change of name is provided
- Credit card(s) provided that “documentary evidence” of a change of name is provided
- Bills and anything with your address on it (go through ALL of your mail)
- All your internet log-in information and details. Keep track of these changes in a password file.
- Social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Notify your friends, family and colleagues in an email or letter
NOTE: Documents such as birth, marriage and educational certificates cannot be changed because these documents are “matters of fact”, which means that they were correct at the time they were issued.
Changing your name
Choose your new name carefully. Practice signing with it. Have a few people close to you call you by that name, and see how you like it. You can change your first name, middle name, last name, or all of the above. Just make sure your new name doesn’t imply “fraudulent intent” or is not in the public interest by:
- avoiding bankruptcy by pretending to be someone else
- violating a trademark
- using numbers or symbols (except Roman numerals)
- using obscene words
Contact the appropriate local government office to determine the rules and paperwork you’ll need to change your name officially. Get the forms to fill out, which typically include:
- a petition (sometimes called a ‘deed poll’) for change of name in the UK
- an order granting change of name
- a legal backer form
- a notice of petition to the public
- an affidavit of consent (if applicable)
- an affidavit of service of notification to authorities (only if you’re an alien, ex-convict or attorney)
- Get the forms notarized, or signed by court clerk.
- Make copies for your own records.
Submit your paperwork to the appropriate office.
Wait for approval. If your name change is not immediately approved, you may need to go to court and defend your reasons.
Put an ad in the newspaper announcing your name change. This gives the public a chance to object to your name change if, say, you owe debt under your current name. Some states allow you to simply post in a public place such as a designated bulletin board at the courthouse.
Fill out the affidavit and return it to the court clerk.
Wait for your Order Granting Change of Name, which will be your new I.D.
Take this with you to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security Administration, and the Bureau of Records or Vital Statistics in the state you were born so that you can get a new driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate, respectively. You will have to go to the Social Security office before you go to the DMV. If your SSN doesn’t match your new name when you apply for a new driver’s license, they won’t issue it.
Some links which may help you:
- United Kingdom http://www.ukdps.co.uk/AWomansRightsUponDivorce.html
- United States http://travel.state.gov/passport/correcting/ChangeName/ChangeName_851.html (Each state has different laws – check)
- Canada http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/name/index.html
- South Africa http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/
- Australia http://australia.gov.au/life-events/changing-your-name
- New Zealand http://www.dia.govt.nz/Services-Births-Deaths-and-Marriages-Name-Change?OpenDocument
After two cups of coffee with Lavern and copious notes later, we determined that it is worth it to be born again under one’s maiden name – HOWEVER you have to surrender to the process. It’s about timing and patience. It’s a journey, not a overnight success story.