Changing Your Name
Changing your name in the Northern Territory
I’m under 18 - I want to change my name – how do I do this?
If you want to use a different name, you can change your name informally by asking people like family, friends and your school to call you a different name. You didn’t need to fill in any forms for this. Changing your name informally is a free and easy way to change your name, and it gives you time to decide if you want to stay with your new name or change it back.
But if you change your name informally like this, you might run into problems when you apply for your driver’s licence, a passport, a Medicare card or Centrelink because there’s no official record to show that you’ve changed your name.
If you’re under 18 and you want to change your name formally, you’ll generally need the permission of both of your parents/guardians. Your parents/guardians will have to apply to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. To change your name in the Northern Territory, you need to have been born there or lived there for over 3 months.
If you weren’t born in the Northern Territory and you haven’t lived there for at least 3 months, then you need to apply to change your name in the state/territory you were born in/have lived in for a certain period of time. To find out how about the laws in other states, please click Change State at the top of the screen.
Generally both of your parents or guardians will need to sign the form to change your name unless:
only one parent is named on your birth certificate; or
one of your parents has died or; one of your parents/guardians applies to the Supreme Court or Family Court to get an order to change your name because they think this is in your best interests; you’re under 18 and married, or you have been married before. If you’re in this situation, you don’t need anyone’s permission to change your name - see the section on Over 18’s (below).
To apply to change your name you need to contact the Birth, Death and Marriage Registry to get a form. The form is not available online. For more information, call the Registry on (08) 8999 6119 (Darwin), (08) 8951 5339 (Alice Spring) or (08) 8962 4377 (Tennant Creek).
Your parents/guardians will have to provide evidence to prove that they are your parents/guardians. They will also need to show some documents that prove who you are. For more information on what documents you need to show to change your name, contact the Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages for an application form on how to change your name. Their numbers are (08) 8999 6119 (Darwin), (08) 8951 5339 (Alice Spring)s or (08) 8962 4377 (Tennant Creek).
We sometimes get asked by young people if their parents can change their name without their permission, for example if one parent wants you to use their name after a family divorce.
If you’re over 14 years old, your parents can’t change your name unless you agree or a court decides that it’s in your best interest. In deciding what’s in your best interests, the court will take into account your views, but they don’t have to follow them. Other things the Court can consider include:
how you feel about each parent;
how often you see both of your parents; any feelings of being confused about your identity; and if you’ll be embarrassed by having a different name from the person you normally live with.
To get an application form to change your name visit the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice.
It costs $86.00 to change your name.
When you apply to change your name, you will have to provide evidence to prove who you are. For more information on what documents you need to show, look at the checklist in the adult application form at the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice.
If you are under 25 and have further questions please send us a Lawmail.
You may copy and use this fact sheet.
This information was last reviewed in January 2015.
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