Other Matters to Consider

Changing your name when you marry

What effect does marriage have on my name?

You are not legally required to change your family name (surname). If you want to you can:

  • use your spouse’s family name on marriage
  • combine family names with your spouse
  • return to your family name at birth or after adoption after getting divorced or separated
  • use a former married name
  • return to a previous legal name that has been formally registered.

You do not need to register a formal change of name if the change falls within one of the above categories. Your marriage certificate is sufficient proof of your change of name and there may be times when you will also need to produce your birth certificate as proof.

If you decide to change your name after marriage, married couples and their children under 18 years of age may apply on one form.

Your marriage record will only show your name at the time of marriage. It will not record your name after marriage.


Change of name after marriage

Any person who marries in Australia may choose to assume their spouse’s surname. This is done as a matter of custom and not of law.

A certificate of marriage issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is usually sufficient evidence to have personal documentation changed to a married surname.

If married overseas, you may have to register a formal change of name with the Registry before your married surname is accepted by some government or private agencies.

WA Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages

Applying for an additional marriage certificate

If you plan to change your name following marriage, you will most likely need to get a supplementary Marriage Certificate issued by the WA Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages as evidence. (Note. This is in addition to the certificate that your celebrant will present you with on the day of your wedding).

The relevant application form can be downloaded from their website.  Check the instructions on the form about what additional evidence of identity you will need to provide when you apply.

Currently the Australian Passports Office will issue you with a passport in your (new) married name free of charge in certain circumstances. Check their website for details:  https://www.passports.gov.au/usingyourpassport/Pages/gratispassports.aspx

Making a legal will

Getting married is a good time to think about the future. Even if you already have a will, you will most likely need to make a new one once you are married.

A will is a legal document that sets out what you want to happen to your things after you die. There are lots of options for making a will – you can purchase a will kit from a variety of retailers, write one yourself or have a lawyer draw up a will professionally. Wills are complex documents, and if you make a mistake, it could mean that your wishes don’t get carried out. It’s a good idea to get legal advice and make sure your will is correctly prepared.

Here is what the Citizen’s Advice Bureau has to say about the process of making a legal will in Australia:   http://www.cabwa.com.au/get-help/make-a-will

More things to think about

There is a useful list of issues and information to consider on the WA Government website:  https://www.wa.gov.au/information-about/major-life-events/marriage