A woman's rights upon separation
It’s a common misconception that a separated woman has to wait until her divorce is finalised before reverting back to her maiden name.
The fact is that a separated woman has the legal right to change her surname at any time. So, if you are separated and no longer wish to be known by your husband's surname, you can revert to your maiden name (or to an entirely new name altogether) by Deed Poll.
Changing your name by Deed Poll doesn’t affect the divorce proceedings that may follow separation. Nor does it matter if divorce proceedings are already underway when you change your name. All you need to do is notify ‘the other party’ of your name change. All subsequent documentation relating to your divorce will then be in your maiden name.
Applying to change your surname by Deed Poll is also the perfect opportunity to make any changes to your forename(s). For example, you might wish to change your first name or add, change or remove middle names.
With regard to your title, it is up to you whether you continue using 'Mrs' or change your title to 'Miss' or 'Ms'.
If you wish to change your title when you change your name, you will find a section on our Deed Poll application form where you can tell us which new title you want so we can incorporate a change of title declaration on your Deed Poll.
If you have children, you may also wish to change their surname by Deed Poll to your new surname - or to a double-barrelled surname (e.g. your surname with your husband's surname).
But please note that if you do want to change the surname of any child under 16 years of age you will need to get the consent of everyone with PR (parental responsibility). If your husband is your children's father then he will have PR and his consent will be required for any name change.
Children aged 16 or over can apply to change their own surname without anyone’s consent being needed.
For further information about PR and consent requirements, please click here to read our article 'Can I change my child's name?'
This page was last checked today by Miranda O'Hara, Senior Deed Poll Officer.