Changing your name is a simple process. A new name is to be recognised simply if it is established by usage. However, many government departments require written evidence of a change of name; this can be obtained through Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria.


Talya Faigenbaum

Principal Lawyer, Nest Legal

Names and marriage

It is a custom for a woman to take her husband’s surname. There is no law that says she has to. She may keep her ‘maiden’ (pre-marriage) name or combine her own surname with that of her husband. Her husband has the same range of choices.

If a woman who used her husband’s (or her former husband’s) name on her marriage certificate wishes to begin using her maiden name again, all she needs to do is to start using that name again. As her birth certificate (or perhaps her citizenship certificate) will still be in her maiden name, she has written proof of her maiden name. However, it is important that she let people know.

If you marry overseas, note that some organisations do not accept overseas marriage certificates as proof of your right to use your spouse’s surname. This means that you need to provide proof that you have changed your name, in the form of a new birth certificate or a change of name certificate. To obtain these certificates, apply to register your new name with Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria; see ‘Registering a new name’ in ‘Changing a name‘.

In proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), if any party changes their name after the start of a case, the court and the other parties must be provided with written notice of the name change (see r 24.03 Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth)).

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