When you’re married, there are numerous options to choose from when it comes to changing your name. I have outlined some of these below:
- Either party take the other’s name
- Both partners hyphenate
- Either partner changes their publicly but keeps their maiden name formally
- Either partner changes their name formally but keeps their maiden name publicly
- Leave both names as-is
The Certificate of Marriage that you receive on your wedding day is ceremonial and is unable to be used for the purposes of changing your name. Your Marriage Celebrant will advise you of the process for ordering your official certificate, which looks similar to a birth certificate, after your marriage. If your Marriage Celebrant is registered for the online portals for Births, Deaths and Marriages, this process is simplified and fast-tracked (I am personally registered in both Queensland and New South Wales).
Once you receive your certificate, you do not need to apply for a change of name. You simply give the relevant organisations a copy of your Australian marriage certificate.
Where to Start
I would recommend starting with photo ID first (e.g. driver licence). This will then allow you to use this as a form of ID for the remaining organisations. It may also be of benefit to see a Justice of the Peace (I am one and always happy to help couples I am marrying), to get your ID certified, so that these copies can be provided to organisations.
Different Organisations, Different Processes
I personally started by mapping out the process of how to change my name – Many organisations allowed me to do it online, whilst others required me to visit a branch or post documents. It will save time to group these together, so that you can do one lot of branch visits, bulk online changes, and one big post office trip.
If you’re eager to get a specific email address with your new name, you may wish to do this as soon as possible to allow you to secure the unique address that you want.
Whilst there are no rules that govern the consistency when it comes to changing your name, make sure that you think through the possible ramifications if you choose to not do it all at once. For example, make sure plane tickets and passport are in the same name.
I strongly recommend using a checklist to ensure that you cover everything. I have developed a checklist which I’ve personally tried and tested, which is in an editable template here.
This information is subject to change, and I recommend that you review the relevant authorities’ websites to confirm currency.