I Changed My Name

 Photography: Cynthia Lee

Photography: Cynthia Lee

If there is one question I get asked ALOT it is if Harmony is my real last name. When I answer yes they often question how I got that name and it is often assumed I got brought up by hippies on a commune. 

The truth is it wasn't always my last name. In fact, it is my third! I first had my original maiden name and then that changed to my last name to my husband's last name until 2016 when we separated and I made up my new last name. Yes, that's right I made it up.

But it wasn't a spontaneous decision, it was actually a gradual process. And Facebook was part of that decision. At one point I decided I wanted more privacy on facebook and I decided to change my last name on there. The word Harmony always resonated with me, in fact, I once had an online store with that word in the title. It was similar to my married last name and it was a word that was important to me as it was something I was always seeking in my life. So I changed my last name on facebook and then on my blog until gradually many people saw that as my actual name and I started to think seriously about adopting it legally. 

Then my husband and I separated and I started a new relationship and after much thought, I decided to make it legal to adopt the last name Harmony. It seemed like a natural thing to do, I was in love with my new name and I felt it reflected my new life and future. Harmony also has a double meaning in music, another love of my life. So I began the task of finding out how hard ( or easy ) it would be to make official.

It turned out the process actually wasn't as hard as you would think. Funnily enough, I already had a couple of friends I discovered that had changed their name. Back in the day they would say you would change your name by 'deed poll' but I discovered that it was no longer called that. I also found out that you could actually legally change your name every 12 months in Queensland!

The process could be started online which surprised me, and it cost less than $200 to do, another surprise! I was expecting I may need a lawyer and thousands of dollars but I was wrong. 

One of the main things that may get people rejected for the name change would be the reason they give for wanting to do so. I had two main reasons, 1. I was separating from my husband and did not want to return to my maiden name and 2. I had been using the name Cherie Harmony on my blog for some time. You also had to make sure the name you choose was not prohibited! 

I filled out the form online, printed it out and then went and found a JP to sight and sign my ID and documents and then posted it off with payment, waiting impatiently to find out if my name change would be approved. It was surprisingly easy to do and I received my new birth certificate and approval quite quickly. It was quite surreal and exciting.

But then the reality hit me, I had to contact all my banks and anyone I had any kind of account with and change my name. This at times was quite frustrating as people were used to seeing marriage certificates with a change of name, but not re-issued birth certificates with new names. Some were easy to do and others meant I had to visit JP's several times to get documents sorted.


All in all, I am so happy I changed my name, I have never had any regrets. However, for some, it would be a difficult decision for several reasons. For some, they may have strong ties to their family name and want to stick with tradition. For me, I did not have an emotional attachment to my maiden name so that wasn't an issue. Also, some may worry about choosing the right name. For me, I had played around with this name for some time and so by the time I made it official many knew me as Cherie Harmony anyway. 

Now the next challenge is I am getting married again! I am yet to decide whether to keep my name or adopt my husbands ... or have both. Stay tuned to find out! :D

PERSONALCherie Harmony