You don’t have to change your name when you get married. But if you decide to, the most challenging part is prioritising what to do first. So here’s a guide for newlyweds changing their name after marriage in Victoria.
What are my rights?
You always retain the right to use the name on your birth certificate. If you have previously legally changed your name, that name always remains your right as well. You can use your previous name professionally while also using your married name in other contexts. And you can revert to that name at any time you wish, for any reason you wish.
When you get married, you also gain the right to use the family name of the person you marry. You can replace the family name on your birth certificate or change of name certificate with it, or you can use it in addition to your previous name.
If you decide to use both names, you can use them in any order you choose. For example, if Tobin Jones marries Kia Nguyen, Tobin’s options are:
- Tobin Jones
- Tobin Nguyen
- Tobin Nguyen-Jones, and
- Tobin Jones-Nguyen
And Kia’s options are:
- Kia Nguyen
- Kia Jones
- Kia Jones-Nguyen, and
- Kia Nguyen-Jones
And your partner’s choice has no effect on yours.
These rules are the same regardless of your gender: a husband can take his wife’s or husband’s name the same as a wife can.
How do I prove it?
You only need your marriage certificate to prove a change of name after marriage in Victoria, but you need to use the right one!
The certificate you need to start this process is the one issued by your state’s registrar, but that’s not the first certificate you will get. Your celebrant must provide you with an entirely useless sheet of paper on your wedding day. This sheet of paper is officially called Form 15, but celebrants usually refer to it as Fluffy Form Fifteen, as a reference to its odd status in law. To ensure maximum confusion, the Vogons have put the words Marriage Certificate at the top of Fluffy Form Fifteen.
The piece of paper you need to change all your details is called a marriage certificate, and at the time of writing, Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria advises that it takes them 28 days to produce it.
Your celebrant will usually order this certificate for you. If you need to do it yourself, you will have to wait for your celebrant to advise that the registration has been processed, and your celebrant will need to check this manually until that part of the process has been completed.
The certificate for any marriage registered in Victoria can be ordered by either party to the marriage from
Once you have it in your hot little hands (please wash your hands), you can then start the daunting process of getting your name changed with other organisations. I have prepared a list below, including links to the relevant authorities in Victoria where appropriate. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully at least starts you along the right track.
Update your licence first to use as proof of your change of name after marriage in Victoria with other organisations.
- Driver Licences can be changed with VicRoads using only your marriage certificate from the Registry Office. There is a form on the website, but if you just go to your local office with your existing licence and your marriage certificate, they will do it on the spot (note that the warning that you have only 14 days to notify them does not apply to you, because your previous name is still your legal name)
These are government agencies that take a some time and effort to process your change of name after marriage, so get the ball rolling as soon as you can.
- Passport if you have a passport and there are more than two years until its expiry, the Passport Office will replace it at no charge, though you do need to produce two new photos
- MyGov is a little complicated, but not entirely illogical; go in via MyGov to access your account with any one service like the Australian Taxation Office, Medicare or Centrelink to change your name, and it is then populated back across all the other services connected to MyGov
- Electoral Roll details can be updated via a simple online form from the Electoral Commission
These are private organisations, but with a higher priority than the last stage, which can just keep ticking over with your old name until you get around to it.
- Real Estate ownership is mostly straightforward, as you just need to notify your local council
- Medical Providers will still get your data from the central registry, but it is still wise to ensure you’ve advised them of your name change to prevent it being a distraction in an emergency
- Wills are automatically invalidated by marriage, so if you have one when you get married, you’ll need a new one afterward
- Financial Institutions will each have their own way of doing things, so pop along to each of your institutions’ websites to find out their process; and remember to think of your
- super funds
- Professional Bodies
- Professional registration
- Working with Children check
- Union membership
The entities below don’t matter anywhere near as much, and it is entirely reasonable to simply update with your change of name as the need arises. The critical element is having your licence or passport done and ready so you have some photo identification ready whenever the need arises.
- Utilities will have their own way of doing things, so contact them one at a time if it matters:
- Organ Donor Register
- Library and other memberships
- Frequent Flyer and other loyalty programs
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