The great thing about being married legally in Australia is that you only change your name by usage and not by law.
There is no actual registration of your married name, you just start using it.
The good thing about this is that in the public record, your name is always recorded as your birth name – you married name is just “on loan”. Which is great for the I in 3 marriages that end in divorce, as well as for soft feminists like me!
So you can start as soon as you like after your wedding, and take as long as you like after your wedding, to change it. Remember, some women don’t change their names on everything ever – they keep their maiden name professionally all their working life.
Some things you will want to do pretty quickly – bank, driver’s licence, tax, super, Medibank, etc (there are about 18 organisations typically!). Others you can take as long as you like. It is advisable to do your passport within a year of the wedding, but not before any travel that you have booked in your maiden name. If you leave it longer than a year, you will have to pay for a whole new passport, and if you still have a bit of time left on your passport, this can be very annoying and unnecessarily expensive.
The certificate you get from your celebrant on your wedding day is a legal certificate but cannot be used for high level name changes. You will need to apply to the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in the state where you were married to get a copy of your Official Marriage Certificate.
You can do this yourself or, for a small fee, your wedding celebrant can do this for you. Believe me, getting your marriage celebrant to do this for you to save the time and angst is – in the words of Mastercard – priceless!!
It’s all a bit different if you were married overseas, but that’s a story for another day.
Suffice to say it’s a pretty simple process. If you would like to know more, send me a message via my Contact Me page!