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Changing your Name

It has been traditional (though not compulsory) in Australia for brides to change their surname to that of their husband after marriage, and this can be done by using the new name once the couple is married and then merely presenting an official marriage certificate to various authorities and institutions and requesting that documents be reissued in one's newly adopted surname.
This option is not, however, available to same sex couples who may have registered their relationship and/or held a commitment ceremony. You will have to apply for a formal name change and pay a fee. You also need to know that such a change will change the name on your birth records if you were born in Australia.

If you decide not to change your name

  • You will not need to present any documentation to keep using the name you used before registering your relationship or holding your commitment ceremony
  • If you have registered your relationship you may need to present a certified copy of the certificate issued by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry when notifying the change in your status to  relevant organisations
If you wish to change your name
  • You will need to decide whether
    • one partner is going to adopt the other's surname
    • you are going to hyphenate your names and one or both adopt that name
    • you are both going to adopt an entirely new name
  • If you were born in Australia you will need to apply for an official name change at Births, Deaths and Marriage in the state where you were born.
  • If  you were born overseas you will apply for a change of name in the state in which you are resident, but be aware some states require you to have been resident in that state for a period of time before applying.
Timing of your name change

Because your name change is a legal change there is no necessity to wait until after your commitment ceremony to apply for a name change. A legal name change takes a considerable length of time. Some couples, particularly those who are both adopting a hyphenated name, choose to make the change and announce it as part of the ceremony.