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 passport or driving licence. There are different rules for changing your name in Scotland.
Get a deed poll
A deed poll is a legal document that proves a change of name. You can change any part, add or remove names and hyphens, or change the spelling.
It doesn’t cost anything to make your own deed poll. Specialist agencies and solicitors may charge a fee to do it for you.
You must be 18 or over to make a deed poll.
There are extra rules about changing a child’s name.
Marriage and civil partnership
You don’t need a deed poll to take your partner’s surname. Send a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate to record-holders, eg benefits offices. Your documents will be updated for free.
If you divorce or end your civil partnership
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 won’t change your name back without a deed poll.
Make an adult deed poll
You’ll need to do one of the following:
use the official forms - do this if you want the name put on the official register (sometimes called being ‘enrolled’);
make your own deed poll;
use a specialist agency or a solicitor.
There are different rules if you want to change a child’s name.
Make your own deed poll
If you don’t want to register your deed poll, you can make your own instead. Speak to ICS Legal, as we can offer a deed poll template for a small fee, by calling us on 0207 237 3388.
Change a child’s name
To change the name of a child aged under 18 (sometimes called a ‘minor’) you’ll need either:
the agreement of everyone with parental responsibility;
a court order.
You must try to reach an agreement before you seek a court order.
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