While some of us choose to retain our maiden name, the vast majority of us women still choose to change our surname to match our new husband’s. The good news is, it's actually quite a simple process once you know what to do and the costs involved.
Often, after marriage, we choose to take on the name of our partners. When marrying both the bride and groom can choose to either keep their maiden names (or name prior to marriage), use their spouse's name, or create a combination of the two, typically with a hyphen or something similar.
You don’t need to make it official
When you change your name after marriage, you might be surprised to know there are actually no official requirements. You can simply take on your new name and begin using it immediately. In the case where you take on a new name, both your prior one and your new one are considered legal names, but it is recommended for an easier time in terms of credit, passports and everything else, that you choose one and stick to it.
So how can I change my name with banks, passports and other places?
To change your name on your bank account for example, you will require the marriage certificate. There is no guideline or time-frame for this to be done in, so there is no rush.
Things like your passport can still carry your single name, but it is important to ensure that all tickets you purchase with intention of using that passport, are also done so under your single name. To change your name on your passport, you can either apply for a new one, or have it endorsed with your married name.
How can I ensure my married name is officially recognized?
To have it officially recognized it needs to be registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages. The same goes if you are changing your child's last name after a marriage. All this requires is a Statutory Declaration on a Change of Name form.
If the application is accepted, it is then registered with the Births Death and Marriages.
What is required with the application?
The application form (Change of Name by Statutory Declaration) is of course required, as is the birth certificate (original or certified true copy) and if you were born in New Zealand a fee of $125, plus an additional $26 for a new certificate.
If you were born outside of New Zealand the fee is only $80 and also requires the birth certificate. Although a new birth certificate cannot be issued in this case a certified copy of your name change is available for $20.
You can also opt to have this portion included in the marriage or civil union registration for an additional $45. This can only be done if it took place within New Zealand.
In any case, if you do not have your birth certificate, you can contact Births Deaths and Marriages for a list of other acceptable identification.
If you do decide to change your name, do it as a step by step process and you’ll find it can be sorted fairly easily and promptly.