Upon birth in Queensland, a person’s name is registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. A person may wish to change either their given names or surname later for a variety of reasons. They might dislike their original name, might want to adopt a more pronounceable name, or someone might simply wish to distance themselves from their former name.
People are generally legally entitled to change their name to any name they wish, as long as the new name they are taking is not used with an intention to defraud another person. The law also places limits on the right of people to formally take on a prohibited name (e.g. a name that might be considered offensive). The changing of name is regulated by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 (Qld).
A person’s name can be changed in a variety of ways:
- informally, simply by using a new name
- informally, as a result of marriage
- informally, as a result of divorce
- formally, in limited circumstances, by court order
- formally, by lodging a form with the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages or another relevant interstate registry.
Special provisions apply in relation to changing the name of a minor (a person under the age of 18 years).