Many people change their names without taking any formal action, as there is no law to stop people using any name they choose. However, it is advisable to have the new name properly registered, because proof can be needed - for example, when applying for a passport or marrying.
Any person over the age of 18 years can register a change of name by filling out the appropriate form from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry and paying the fee.
Marriage and divorce:
Neither marriage nor divorce legally affects your name. When you marry or at any time during your marriage you can use your single name or adopt a new name as you prefer. A married woman who has used her husband’s name during her marriage can go back to her single name or keep her married name after separation or divorce.
A child’s name can be changed if both parents and the child agree. If the child is too young to understand, the parents can still change the name by both filling in a Declaration to Change the Name of a Child from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry.
If one parent wants to change a child’s name but the other disagrees, the State Magistrates Court can decide. The nonconsenting parent can tell the court why they think the child’s name should not be changed. The court will make a decision based on what it believes is best for the child. Even where the court makes an order authorising the change of name of a child, the change must still be registered at the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry to be effective.