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A change of name by Deed Poll - an alternative to marriage
Getting married has never been more expensive – and the current economic climate and rising cost of living has seen many cohabiting couples postponing wedding or civil partnership plans, or deciding not to get married at all.
What cohabiting couples are doing, however, is applying to change one of the couple’s surnames to their partner’s surname by Deed Poll.
In fact over the past three years we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of cohabitating unmarried women changing their surname to their partner's surname. Many are also using a Deed Poll to change their title from ‘Miss’ or ‘Ms’ to ‘Mrs’, giving the appearance that they are married. There’s nothing wrong with changing your name or title in this way and it is perfectly legal to do it whenever you wish.
Also, if the couple have or plan to have children, they might feel it’s preferable for all family members to share the same surname. With over 25 per cent of children now born to cohabiting couples in the United Kingdom, we expect to see many more unmarried couples with families applying for an official surname change by Deed Poll.
Of course using a Deed Poll to change your surname to your partner’s surname doesn’t alter your marital status. Nor does changing your name alter the legal position between you and your partner.
Although the government is looking at giving cohabitating couples the same legal rights as married couples and civil partners, this isn’t yet the case. Unfortunately, until there’s a change in the law, cohabiting couples will continue to have far fewer rights compared with married couples and civil partners.
Similarly, changing your title by Deed Poll doesn’t change your marital status. If you are a single woman and you change your title to ‘Mrs’ your marital status remains as single.
So, from a legal point of view and contrary to this article’s title, changing your surname to your partner’s surname by Deed Poll is not an alternative to marriage.
However we do believe that it’s important for you to understand your legal position and rights as a single person living with your partner. For information and advice about your legal rights, we recommend you click here to read the publication Living Together published by the independent organisation AdviceNow.
To change your name and title by Deed Poll, please click here.
This page was last checked today by Miranda O'Hara, Senior Deed Poll Officer.