Article reference: UK-IA-CHN14

Why change your name by deed poll?

You can change your name for any reason (except to defraud or deceive someone) with relative freedom as to your new name. Circumstances in which you might consider a change include:

Partnership

On marriage or partnership, some people combine their joint names so as not to lose the identity of either, and to reflect their commitment to each other. Double-barrelled surnames are commonly used, or some other new hybrid name reflecting both old names.

Some women change their name outside of marriage to reflect a commitment to their partner. This is often an alternative to marriage, or a precursor.

Some women change their name on marriage so that their old surname becomes a middle name, and their husband's surname becomes theirs.

Divorce and separation

On separation, some women (and men) prefer to revert back to a maiden name or name before marriage.

Sometimes, it isn't possible to change your name on all documents when you are divorced. Women who want all records changed may change their name by deed poll to do so.

Some women choose to change their surname on divorce to a mixture of their maiden name and their married surname so as to both be independent of their ex-husband but be linked to their children.

Religious reasons

If you have changed to a different religion, you may wish to change your name by deed poll to reflect your new faith.

Formalisation of a commonly used name

Some people use names in common day use that are not their legal names. Changing their name by deed poll formalises their preferred name. An entertainer may want to use a stage name, or someone may wish to use a nickname (such as Harry instead of Henry).

For gender reasons

People changing gender usually want to change their name and title.

Anglicisation

Changing a foreign name to a British one may help reduce discrimination. A new name may be more recognisable as being "British" or may be easier to pronounce. Some foreign names might have other meanings in English that don't translate well.

Tribute to a family member or idol

Some people like to recognise the people they respect in their name. Adding in a middle name of a family member or a sporting or acting idol is fairly common when changing name.

Family reasons

Many parents like to change the surname of their children to recognise their own relationship with someone who is not the mother or father. This is common both at partnership (such as changing the name of a child from a first marriage to the surname of the husband of a second marriage), and at separation (such as changing from the father's surname to the mother's).

Some people change their surname to disassociate themselves from their family.

Other reasons

There are plenty of other reasons to change a name. Many people don't like the name they were given by their parents, and some people change their name for fun or to be different.

Further information and useful documents

This is the fifth article in a series of articles about using a deed poll document to change name. The next covers restrictions on what your name can be.The previous covered  whether you can change your name.

You may be interested in downloading our free template deed poll.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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