How to change your last name once you’re married

changing your last name after the wedding in nz

A common question that crops up with newly-married brides relates to the hassle of changing their last name. In New Zealand we are actually pretty lucky – the marriage certificate itself is proof enough, so there’s not much paperwork to do.

Listen to my top tips on updating your last name below:

How to change last name once you’re married?

Simply put – it’s done for you when you sign on the dotted line (the marriage license that is). You are free to use both your maiden name and your married name. Just remember which name you’re using for what government departments and different things as it can be confusing for them and you.

What documents need changed over to my married name?

The two forms that you, your witnesses and your celebrant sign on your wedding day are called ‘The Particulars of Marriage’.  Some places, even some banks, will let you use this when you want to go in and change your name. However, if you are needing to change your name on your passport or driver’s licence, you will need to order an actual ‘Marriage Licence’, using the form on the back of your Particulars of Marriage (and for an additional cost of just over $20). Thanks to Honor Freeman – Celebrant for this wee update.

Your driver’s license and passport are two of the big ticket legal documents with your maiden name on them (if you have them). You can either wait till they expire, and update them with your married name at that point. Or, you can pay for them to be reissued with your new name, if you just can’t wait.

Be really careful with the names you book any flights under – if you book your honeymoon under your married name but your passport still uses your maiden name, you will have trouble travelling.

For your household bills and correspondence, I recommend giving the companies a ring or flicking them an email as the need arises. Some places want a certified copy of your marriage certificate. I simply copied my marriage certificate 5 or so times, then took it to a JP to get them to certify it was a true copy. That way, I had copies on hand to send out to organisations who needed that extra bit of paperwork. A couple of places even accepted a scanned version, so ask if that’s ok.

One bit of documentation that’s still in my maiden name is my house title and rates bills. The names listed on your rates bills come directly off your Certificate of Title, which (very simply put) is the paperwork which states who owns a house. To get your name changed on the Certificate of Title, you need to go through your lawyer. Not something I’ve worried about doing, since it’ll incur extra fees.

Recommended Reading

Name changes for Passports
Driver licensing renewals 
Changing your name advice from Citizens Advice Bureau
Find a JP (for certifying copies of your marriage certificate) 

4 thoughts on “How to change your last name once you’re married

    1. When you renew your passport, the form asks you if you’ve changed your name and then talks you through it. It’s pretty easy x

  1. Great info – just one correction. As a wedding celebrant, I need to clarify something. The two forms you sign on your wedding day are strictly-speaking, known as The Particulars of Marriage. While many places, even some banks, will let you use this as the documentation to prove you are married when you want to change the name you use, many (including the Passport Office and the NZTA) require you to have your actual Marriage Licence. This has to be ordered, for an additional $20+, using the form on the back of your Particulars of Marriage. Why this is so baffles me, but such is life!

    1. Thanks Honor, that’s something new since I had to change my last name – I have added your new information into the article. Many thanks, Amanda

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