Can I legally change my name?

Barker Son & Isherwood LLP


Phone 01264 353411


Not many people realise that you can change your name without following any sort of legal process. So if you decide, like someone in the US to change your name to Optimus Prime (a robot character from Transformers) there is not a lot stopping you, however you may and most certainly will come across some problems when you try to obtain a passport, driving licence or mortgage, or in fact, gain access to a bank account in your old name.

There are ways around this though - you will need to obtain a 'change of name deed'. This is a legal document that allows you to change any part of your name, including your surname. This can be as simple as taking out a hyphen, changing spelling or changing one or both names completely.

There are certain times you can change your name without a change of name deed. The first is when you get married or enter into a civil partnership. Your marriage certificate legally allows you to take your partner's surname and you will usually have to send a copy to everyone who has a record of you.

The other time you can change your name without a deed poll is when you get divorced or end your civil partnership. You can then go back to your original name using your marriage certificate and your decree absolute or your civil partnership certificate and final order.

Changing your name as an adult is not complicated as you do not need anyone's consent, you need to complete a change of name deed which we can prepare for you for £80 plus vat.

However, changing a child's name is more difficult. You will need to obtain agreement from everyone who has parental responsibility. You should try to obtain that agreement and then we can prepare the change of name deed, attaching the consent from the person with parental responsibility. Our charges for doing this amount to £80 plus vat. If parental consent is not forthcoming then an application to court will have to be made.

If you would like to talk to us about changing your name, or your child's, please contact Sandra Machin at and they will be happy to talk you through the options open to you.

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