Marriage & Divorce are two contrasting concepts. Marriage is the beginning of a relationship while a divorce is the end. In India, many women follow the tradition of changing the last name after marriage. It is not mandatory to change the name though. It is just an act of love and affection. For some, changing name strengthens their legal bond and for many others, it’s just a custom. Some women retain their husband’s name even after divorce for the sake of their children. But, some women do not even want to be identified by their ex-husband’s surname after divorce. Some may also want to remarry. If you are facing either of the two situations, you may want to change your name after divorce or marriage (as the case may be).
We will see here the steps involved to legally change your name after divorce or marriage.
Can anybody force you to change your name after divorce or marriage?
No. Nobody can force you to change your name after divorce or marriage. It is a woman’s personal choice.
Nobody can deprive you of your rights as a wife because of not changing your name. But if you choose to change it, make sure that you change it uniformly in all important documents.
In the same way, there is no compulsion to change your name after a divorce. But, there is one exception. If your divorced husband objects to such use and gets a court order restraining you from using his name, then you have to change it.
How to change your name after marriage?
There are two options to change your name after marriage. One, by applying for a name change in the Official Gazette. Two, by filing a joint affidavit from a public notary.
What are the requirements for a name change in the Official Gazette?
To change your name in the Official Gazette, you have to first get your marriage certificate. A marriage certificate is a legal proof that two people share a marital bond.
To get a marriage certificate, you have to register your marriage at the office of the Marriage Officer. A Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Additional Divisional Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner are authorized to act as a Marriage Officer.
Does this process seem complicated?
Relax. The registration process is also explained here for your convenience.
What is the procedure for registration of marriage?
You have to get an application form at the office of the Marriage Officer or you can download it from your State Government’s website and submit it to the office.
Along with the application, attaching photocopies of some documents is necessary.
If yours is a court marriage, then you can bring the documents along and register it immediately. After verification of the documents, the registration of the marriage is complete.
Nowadays, many states provide online registration of marriages. After marriage registration, the marriage certificate is provided. But this process takes time.
What are the documents required to register your marriage?
- Application form filled & duly signed by the husband and wife.
- Proof of Address/ Residence (for both husband and wife)- Driving License/ Voter ID/ Ration Card/ Passport
- Proof of Date of Birth (for both husband and wife)- Birth Certificate/ 10th/ 12th-grade certificates/ Passport
- 2 Passport size photographs each (7 each for court marriages) and 1 marriage photograph.
- Marriage Affidavits (for both husband and wife) in the prescribed format.
- Aadhar Card
- Certificate of marriage from a religious priest (If the marriage took place in a religious place).
- Marriage Invitation, if available.
- Witnesses and their proofs.
- Receipt of payment of specified fees.
- Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship.
- Copy of divorce decree/ order in case of a divorcee.
- Copy of death certificate of spouse in case of a widower/ widow.
- A conversion certificate (If either the husband/ wife does not belong to the same religion).
- No Objection Certificate (NOC)/ Marital Status Certificate from the concerned Embassy and a valid visa (If either the husband/ wife is a foreign national).
All these documents except the fee receipt have to be self-attested and also attested by a gazetted officer.
How to change your name after divorce or marriage in the Official Gazette?
After successfully getting your marriage certificate, you need to apply for a change in name at the office of the State Government Gazette. This form is also available online on the official website of your State Government.
Fill the form, affix your passport size photograph with due attestation and attach photocopies of the marriage certificate, documents for proof of name and address.
The forms also ask for the reason of name change. An attestation in the application is also required. In addition, you will have to pay the specified fees and attach the receipt. The change will then be published in the Official Gazette. You will also get copies of the Gazette in which your name change has been published through registered post. This document serves as legal proof of your name change.
How to change your name after divorce or marriage through Joint Affidavit?
Are you in an emergency and the marriage registration process is time consuming? No worries. You can fill out a joint affidavit from a registered Public Notary.
An affidavit is basically a stamp paper notifying your intention of changing your name to a new one along with the details of previous name, new name and the reason for a change in name. Provide your entire marriage details on the stamp paper and affix a photograph of your marriage. You also have to pay a fee to complete this process. This process saves time.
Is there any other formality for name change?
Yes. You have to advertise your name change in at least two of your local newspapers (preferably one in your regional language and one in English). Your copy of the gazette publication or the joint affidavit will serve as the proof for newspaper publication.
Can a husband and a wife change their names to a hyphenated version of their two names or to a brand new name?
Yes. A wife can have a dual surname. This way she can retain her family name as well as her husband’s name/ surname. There are no restrictions for hyphenating last names.
A brand new fusion can also be made. There is no law restricting naming in India. So you have the freedom to change names according to your choice. You only have to make sure it is non-defamatory.
How to change your name after divorce?
If you want to change your name after your divorce, you first have to get your divorce decree.
During the divorce proceedings, you won’t be able to change your name.
You have to attach the copy of the divorce decree/ order along with the name change application.
Follow the above-mentioned procedure for completion of the rest of the process.
Can you change your child’s name after getting a divorce?
Yes. You can follow the normal name change process for that.
Before the divorce decree is passed, you can change your child’s surname without your husband’s consent. But, if your husband gets a restraining order for such change, then you cannot change your child’s surname without his permission.
After you change your name or your child’s name, make sure you also change it in other important documents. For example, Passport, Aadhar Card, PAN Card, Driving License, Bank Documents, Insurance, Loans, etc.
So, if you wish to change your name after divorce or marriage, make sure to follow the above process. This will ensure uniformity and you can avoid confusion.
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