If you are a British Citizen, you can legally change your name or that of your child by "executing" a Deed Poll i.e. signing a document in front of witnesses, who also sign it. If you are a citizen of another nationality, you will need to ask your embassy what you need to do to change your name.
There are various websites (for British Citizens) from which Deed Polls can be downloaded for you to print or ordered ready printed. They simply need to be signed by you in front of witnesses. You do not need an advocate or solicitor to witness you sign your Deed Poll. Anyone that is at least 18 years of age and knows you, but is independent of you (i.e. not a relative, partner or person living at the same address as you) can act as a witness.
If needed, these Deed Polls can be "legalised" by the UK Legalisation Office i.e. certified as being genuine by a UK solicitor (who will attach an "Apostille" to your Deed Poll, to show it is genuine). If you want your name change to be added to UK public records, your Deed Poll can be "enrolled" (in the Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature, which is located within the Royal Courts of Justice in London) - if you do this, it will also be included in an edition of the London Gazette.
Within Guernsey, an advocate can prepare a Deed Poll for you and register it with the Royal Court (this is equivalent to enrolling it with the Royal Courts of Justice in London). The Greffe will hold a copy of your Deed Poll in a register in the strong room, from where it can be viewed by anyone (doing family history research, for example).
If you get married, you can retain your previous name, take on the last name of your husband or wife or use both of your previous last names double-barreled. Your marriage certificate can be used to prove whichever of these options you have chosen.
If you get divorced, you will need to execute a Deed Poll to be able to prove that you have chosen to no longer use the name you used while you were married.
There isn't one single public register that contains a list of all name changes.
If you do change your name for any reason, you will need to inform the Revenue Service, who will pass the information on to the teams that administer Income Tax, Social Security Contributions, Benefits and Pensions. You will also need to replace your passport with one issued in your new name and update your driving licence, if you have one. You may also need to apply for a new Resident Certificate/Employment Permit (Right to Work), if you have one of those. Here is a list of the other States of Guernsey provided services you may need to update:
- Health appointments (maternity, hospital etc)
- Schools, Higher Education and Further Education
- Cadastre (TRP) and Parish Constables
- Electoral Roll
- Customer Services
- Vendor Services
- Social Rented Housing (States of Guernsey and Guernsey Housing Association Properties)
- States Works
- Beau Sejour (including Swim School)
- Guernsey Tickets
- Visit Guernsey Marketing and Tourism
- Guernsey Legal Aid Service
- Royal Court - Sheriff's Office
- Guernsey Registry
- Health and Safety Executive and Trading Standards
- Guernsey Harbours Crew
- Boat Moorings
- Ships Registry
- Guernsey Harbours Security Passes and Parking and Access Permits
- Sea Fisheries
- Agriculture and Horticulture
- Firearms Licensing
In future, you will be able to register your new details with various States' departments all through one online form, but for the time being you will need to contact them individually. You will need to provide an original copy of your Deed Poll, marriage certificate, passport and/or driving licence for your name to updated.