A married woman’s name change rights upon separation

Separated women (who took their husband’s surname upon marriage) often believe they have to wait until their divorce is finalised before they can revert to their maiden name. This is incorrect. A separated woman has the right to change her surname at any time. Therefore, if you are separated and do not wish to be known by your husband’s surname, you can revert to your maiden name (or to a new name entirely) by Deed Poll. Changing your name is quick and simple and you can read a summary of the Deed Poll process by clicking on this link.

Changing your name by Deed Poll does not affect any divorce proceedings that may follow your separation. Neither does it matter if divorce proceedings have commenced. All you need to do is notify “the other side” of your name change. All subsequent documentation relating to your divorce will then be in your maiden name.

When changing your name by Deed Poll, you can also take the opportunity to make changes to your forename(s) if you wish e.g. change, add or remove your first and/or middle names. With regard to your title, it is up to you whether you continue using Mrs or change your title to Miss or Ms.

If you wish to change your title when you change your name, you will see a section on our Deed Poll application form where you can tell us what new title you want so we can incorporate a declaration on your Deed Poll that changes your title.

If you have children, you may also wish to change their surname by Deed Poll to your new surname or to a double-barrelled surname (your surname with your husband’s surname). However, to change a child’s name, the consent of everyone with parental responsibility is required. If your husband is your children’s father, then your husband will have parental responsibility and his consent will be required for any name change. For further information about parental responsibility and consent requirements, please read our page Can I change my child’s name?