THERE are a number of reasons why someone might want to change their names, so it's good to know the rules and costs of doing so.
You don't have to follow a legal process to start using a new name.
But you might need a deed poll to apply for, or to change official documents like your driving licence.
So if you're getting married, going through a divorce, or changing your name for another reason, you'll want to make a note of the rules.
Plus you might want to set a bit of money aside to do so, as the process isn't always free.
Can you legally change your name?
Yes, you can legally change your name, but there are different processes depending on your circumstances.
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To change your name, you can apply for a deed poll – a legal document that proves a change of name.
You can change any part of your name, add or remove names and hyphens, or change spelling.
How much does it cost to change your name?
The name change process doesn't necessarily cost anything.
If you're getting married, for example, and choose to take your partner's surname, this is free and you just need to inform the relevant services.
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But if you want to change your name by deed poll – then this will come with a fee.
An unenrolled deed poll – the less formal way of changing your name – is free.
But you may have to pay a solicitor or an agency to help you, and this could cost a few hundred pounds.
An enrolled deed poll means your new name will be publicly on record.
It costs £42.44 and is made up of made up of a Court Enrolment Free (£10), Advertisement Charge (£28.44) and Copy of London Gazette (£4).
How to change your name
There are two ways to get a deed poll – unerolled and enrolled.
An unenrolled deed pool is a simple legal statement that states that you've changed your name.
You can change your name yourself if you are over the age of 16.
While a enrolled deed poll means they you're putting your new name on public record and you need to be over 18 to do this.
All government bodies, including HM Passport Office and DVLA, accept either an unenrolled or enrolled deed poll as evidence of your name change.
Changing your name through marriage
If you're getting married and you want to take your partner's name, you don't need a deed poll.
The same rules apply if you're going to have a civil partnership.
You just need to send a copy of your marriage certificate to record-holders, like the benefits office and DVLA, and your documents will be updated for free.
But if you're planning on name blending – merging your surname with your partner's – then you will both need to a deed poll.
If you're getting divorced
You may be able to go back to your original name by showing record-holders either your:
- marriage certificate and decree absolute
- civil partnership certificate and final order
Some organisations will not change your name back without a deed poll.
How to make an unenrolled deed poll
A specialist agency or a solicitor can make the deed poll for you and they may charge a fee.
You will need two witnesses to sign your deed pool and they must be over the age of 18.
After you've made your deed pool and signed it, you can use it as proof of your new name.
How to make an enrolled deed poll
You can put your new name on public record by ‘enrolling’ it at the Royal Courts of Justice if you’re 18 or over.
It costs £42.44 and cheques should be made payable to HMCTS.
There are forms on the gov.uk website that you will to fill our and send to the Royal Courts of Justice.
Changing a child's name
A 16 or 17 year old can change their name through an unenrolled deed poll, but they will need two adult witnesses.
If a child – someone under the age of 18 – wants to apply for an enrolled deed poll, they will need the agreement of everyone with parental responsibility or court order.
If everyone agrees, then you can complete the forms on the gov.uk website and pay the fee.
But if you need to make a court order, this will cost an additional £215.
Changing your name if you're an offender
You must tell the police you’ve changed your name within three days if you’re a registered:
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- sex offender
- violent offender
- terrorist offender
You must go to your local prescribed police station to do this. You’ll be told where this is on release.
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