How to Change Your Legal Name in Australia
Have you ever wondered how to change your legal name? It is easier than you might think. Read our guide on how to change your legal name in Australia.
Are you are a newly-wed wanting to take your partners name? Or perhaps you simply don’t like your name and want a change? Either way – you are entitled to change your name. Although it may seem like a difficult and lengthy task, this is not always the case. Read our guide to find out how you can change your legal name in Australia.
When to Legally Change Your Name?
As you may be aware, you can change your name in Australia. This most commonly occurs on marriage with the changing of one’s last name to match their partners. However, people may also choose to legally change their first or middle name. This may involve changing the spelling, abbreviating the name, or changing it completely. If you would like to change your business name, you can read our guide ‘How to Change a Company Name‘.
How To Change It
So how do you go about changing your legal name? The laws and requirements surrounding this differs between states and territories. Anyone wishing to change their name must lodge a legal name change application with the relevant state authority. In New South Wales, this is Births, Deaths and Marriages. Once you have lodged your application, it can take 38-49 days to take effect.
There are fees associated with your name change. In 2020, the cost is $195 in NSW. When applying for a name change, you will need to provide relevant documents. This can include a proof of your birth state, showing a link between your signature and photo and proof of your residential address. You will also need to hand in your original birth certificate.
Congratulations! You have changed your name. Now you will need to tell family and friends of your new name. You must also notify any organisations and institutions of your name change. You can customise our Change of Name Notification Letter for free.
Who Can Change Their Name?
In order to be eligible for a name change in New South Wales, there are certain requirements including:
- You must be over 18 years of age
- Your birth is registered in NSW or you have been a resident in NSW for 3 consecutive years if you were born overseas
- You are not a restricted person
- Where a protection order from domestic violence has been made and your birth is not registered in NSW
When Can’t You Change It?
In New South Wales, you are not permitted to change your name if you are a restricted person. Under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW), a restricted person includes:
- Person on remand
- Forensic patient
- Person subject to a supervision order
- Periodic detainee
- Correctional patient
Further, there are certain names that are prohibited. For instance, you are not permitted to change your name to words which are offensive. Conversely, official titles and ranks or numbers cannot be used as names.
Ultimately, changing your legal name is easier than you may think. However, the laws and regulations surrounding a name change differ between states and territories. This is why it is important to look at the authority who handles name changes in the state or territory you were born in. If you are having issues with your name change or would like assistance, you can consult a lawyer here.
Laura is a Legal Intern at Lawpath. She is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business Administration at Macquarie University. Laura is interested in Intellectual Property Law and how technology can assist in improving access to justice.