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  • Writer's pictureCourt Help Limited

What If I Don't Have the Documents I Need for a Name Change?

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

After a divorce, it is common for people to change their name back to their maiden name, though not all may choose to do this. It is entirely up to you if you choose to change your name after a divorce, and there is no right or wrong decision in a situation like this.

We also have a comprehensive guide on how to change your name after a divorce. If you are looking to change your child's name, have a look at this article.

By law, you are allowed to simply begin to use a new name, however, in order to change your name in official records, you will need to provide the following original documents as proof of your name change:

  1. Original Marriage Certificate

  2. Original Birth Certificate

  3. The Decree Absolute (Final Order)

If you do not have all of these documents, for whatever reason, you could either:

  1. Apply for the copies of the missing documents with your Local Registrar

  2. Simply obtain a change of name via Deed Poll (an official legal document which acts as an evidence of an individual's name change, you can find the necessary documentation at

If you have decided to apply for missing copies of the documents, this article will give you a step by step guide on how and who you need to go to for each individual document.

If your Decree Absolute/Final Order is Missing

If you have lost your Decree Absolute/Final Order, then you can obtain a copy of it from the court which issued the original. You can find the contact details of your specific court from the below mentioned websites:

In England and Wales, as long as you have a copy of your case number, the cost of obtaining a copy of a Decree Absolute/ Final Order is only £11.

If you do not have the case number then you would have to request the court to search through their records, so the cost of getting a copy of your Decree Absolute/ Final Order becomes £45.

If you do not know the name of the court that issued the original Decree Absolute/Final Order, then you would have to ask Principal Registry of the Family Division to look into the matter.

Accordingly, you will have to fill the Form D440 (Decree Absolute Search Request Form) and send it to the Principal Registry of the Family Division along with a £50 payment;

If Your Marriage or Birth Certificate is Missing

If you have lost either your birth or marriage certificate, you simply have to contact the General Register Office to replace these certificates.

The application for replacement can be done online, here. The entire process should be relatively simple and should only take you 10 minutes.

The cost of replacement of each certificate will cost only £11. If you do not have your GRO Indexing Number, it will only cost an extra £3.

Note: This article is not meant as legal advice and must not be treated as legal advice.


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