Changing Your Name After Marriage

In Australia up to 85% of newly wedded women take their husbands surname.  They choose to do so for many different reasons, not just for tradition’s sake. But modern times offer more flexibility and equality in this matter.  For example, did you know that he can take her name?

Nowadays both husband and wife have the traditional right to take their married surname after marriage. It is essentially a process which happens after the wedding day, not before.  Therefore all the wedding day and marriage paperwork must be done in the maide/batchelor or current name.  AND Your signature remains the same until after the wedding day.

What are my Options?

1. Take Your Partner’s Surname

This is a traditional route where one spouse adopts the surname of the other.

2. Double-Barrelled Surname

Some couples choose to combine both partners’ surnames, creating a new hyphenated surname.

3. Combination of Maiden and Married Name

Another option is to use a combination of your maiden and married names ; with hyphens or not.

4. Keep Your Own Name

Alternatively, you may decide to keep your own name and take no action regarding a name change.

5. A Completely NewName

If you decide to adopt a completely new surname, you will need to get a legal name change procedure going. This costs money!  But with the options provided above, only one party to the marriage need do this process.  The other simply assumes the partner’s name after marriage. This also means that you can revert back to your maiden name any time without any reason. 

To take on your new surname, you only need at least one copy of your registered Marriage Certificate issued by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages. 

* Note that the Commonwealth certificate issued to you on your wedding day is a legal and numbered document, however it is not sufficient for this purpose.

** Note also, if you wish to make any other changes to your name, a legal Change of Name process through the registry is required.

The Registered Marriage Certificate

The Registered Marriage Certificate is essentially a copy of what is recorded in the government registry.  To procure thisone you need to apply separately to BDM; it is not automatic.

Applying for the Registered Certificate

With myself, Kari as your celebrant, this is easy.  I can check a box on your marriage forms before lodgement.  The Registry simply sends the certificate to you as soon as your marriage and application is processed.

You can of course choose to apply for the Registered Marriage Certificate at any time after your marriage, even years later! Fill out the official application form online.  Then send off the relevant ID documents required. 

Changing your name

Once you have your official registered marriage certificate, you’re ready to begin changing your name. Start by making photocopies of the certificate and having them certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP). This step ensures that you have verified copies for official use.

Next, begin contacting various institutions and organizations to update your name. Start with essential documents like your driver’s license and passport, as these will facilitate other changes. It’s also a good time to start practicing your new signature!

It is a good idea to keep a certified copy in your wallet for at least a year to cover most bases. 

Note that the Registry can take up to several weeks to process a new marriage.  Wait until you receive it before making important changes to your name (i.e booking international flights).

Keeping records

Maintaining records of your name change process is crucial for organisation and reference. Keep track of which authorities or organisations have been informed of your new name and when they confirm the change. This helps ensure a smooth transition and avoids any discrepancies.


Pop this checklist on the fridge to make sure nothing is forgotten. 



Date Contacted

Date Confirmed

QLD Transport (license)



Passport /Visas



Car Registration



Australian Tax Office



Electoral Commission


















Utilities (power/ rates/gas/water)















ABN register



Local Shire Council



Phone provider/s/Internet



Pay TV/movies/other subscriptions















Updated Will









Investments and Shares






Business matters



Health providers/legal providers/accountant












Frequent Flyer/Flybuys



Sports/recreation clubs









Will (marriage immediately voids a prior will)



Organ Donor Regsiter






Roadtoll accounts



Loyalty accounts