To change your family name on documents and accounts such as your driver licence, passport and bank accounts, you need to apply directly to the relevant organisations (for example, VicRoads, Australian Passport Office or your bank).

When you do this, you'll need to provide either a marriage certificate or a change of name certificate as evidence of your changed name, depending on whether you were born or married in Australia or overseas.

Changing your family name to your spouse's

Married in Australia

If you were born and married in Australia:

  • A wife can take her husband's family name
  • A husband can take his wife's family name
  • Both partners can hyphenate their family names.

To change your family name, you need:

  • Your Australian marriage certificate.

The commemorative certificate you got on your wedding day isn't the same as the official marriage certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria (BDM). Most organisations will only accept the BDM-issued certificate as evidence. If you don't have one, see Get a marriage certificate.

Married overseas

Some organisations won't accept non-Australian marriage certificates as evidence of your right to assume your spouse's family name.

If you were born overseas and married in Australia, to change your family name to your spouse's you need to:

Recognising overseas marriages

You can't register an overseas marriage in Australia, but in most cases, your overseas marriage will be recognised. See Overseas marriages.

Changing back to your previous family name

Married in Australia

If you were born in Australia, to go back to your previous family name after separation or divorce, you don't need to register the change with BDM.

To change your family name on your documents and accounts, you need:

  • Your Australian marriage certificate
  • Your Australian birth certificate
  • Your divorce certificate (if applicable).

To change your name with most organisations, you need a standard birth certificate, not a birth extract. If you don't have one, see Get a birth certificate.

If you were born overseas, and have legally changed your name to your spouse's, to go back to your previous name you need to:

Married overseas

If you married overseas, to go back to your previous name you need to:

Divorce records

BDM doesn't hold any divorce records or issue divorce certificates. For divorce-related enquiries, see the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (External link) and the Family Court of Australia (External link).