How to Change Your Name After a Divorce in the UK

If you have recently gone through a divorce or separation, you might be wondering about the process of changing your last name back to your maiden name. This guide will walk you through the necessary steps, the documents required, and address common questions related to name changes after divorce in the UK.

Should You Change Your Last Name After a Divorce?

Deciding whether to revert to your maiden name or keep your married name is a personal choice. Factors such as the circumstances of your separation, your relationship with your ex, and considerations involving children can influence your decision. Here are some points to consider:

A Fresh Start: Changing your name can symbolize a new beginning and a way to let go of the past.

Official Documents: If you wish to revert to your maiden name on official documents like your driving license, passport, and property deeds, you will need to undergo the official name change process.

Travel Plans: To book international travel under your maiden name, your passport must reflect this change, requiring proof of the name change.

New Relationships: Some people prefer to use their pre-marriage name when starting to date again.

How to Change Your Name After a Divorce

Reverting to Your Maiden Name

If you were married and divorced in the UK, and want to revert to your maiden name, you will need:

  • Your original marriage certificate
  • Your original birth certificate
  • A signed statement declaring you are reverting to your maiden name for all purposes
  • Your decree absolute

Decree Absolute: This is the document that finalizes your divorce. Before obtaining a decree absolute, you need a decree nisi, which is issued once a judge approves your divorce. You must wait at least 43 days after receiving your decree nisi to apply for the decree absolute.

Missing Documents: If you are missing any required documents, you can either apply for copies or obtain a deed poll.

Applying for Copies of Missing Documents

  • Decree Absolute: Obtain a copy from the court that issued the original one. If you don’t know the case number or the court, you can request a search by the Principal Registry of the Family Division for a fee.
  • Marriage/Birth Certificates: Contact the General Register Office to replace these certificates, each costing about £9.25.

Using a Deed Poll

If obtaining copies of missing documents is too cumbersome, a deed poll can officially change your name. It is a legal document that states you have changed your name and given up your old one.

Changing to a Different Name

If you wish to change your name to something other than your maiden name, you will need a deed poll. This document will serve as evidence of your new name for updating official records.

Changing Your Name on Various Documents

Passport: Contact Her Majesty’s Passport Office to update your name. Typically, you don’t need a deed poll if you have all the required documents.

Bank Accounts: Visit your bank with evidence of your name change, such as a decree absolute, deed poll, or updated passport.

Driving License: Apply with the DVLA to update your name on your driving license. This service is free.

Additional Considerations

Documents Not in English: If any of your documents are not in English, you can either get them translated or use a deed poll to simplify the process.

Changing Your Title: If you only want to change your title (e.g., from Mrs. to Ms.), no official name change process is needed.

Non-UK Citizens: If you are a UK resident but not a citizen, and your documents are not in English, check with your embassy about accepting a deed poll for updating your passport.

Before Divorce Finalization: If you want to change your name before your divorce is finalized, you will need a deed poll.


Changing your name after a divorce can involve various costs depending on your situation and the documents needed. Reverting to your maiden name with all required documents incurs minimal costs, such as updating your passport. If you need copies of documents or translations, additional fees apply. Using a deed poll costs £15.00.


Changing your name after a divorce in the UK involves updating your name on all official documents and notifying relevant organizations. If you have all necessary documents, the process is straightforward. If documents are missing or not in English, a deed poll can simplify the process. Ensure you update all necessary records, including your passport, driving license, and bank accounts, to reflect your new name.

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