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The name game - please help

(9 Posts)
TheHorseWithNoName Sat 04-Feb-17 22:14:04

I nearly put a more concise version of this in legal but have changed my mind at the last minute as it seems to be more about dealing with relationships and people and I've battered my own head and now I'm in that sick panic cycle confused If I don't post this now I'll ignore it for another year or two and be trapped in my job through fear.

I've learnt so much on this relationship board in the past year and am very thankful to those people that post their experiences, knowledge and support on so many different threads. And also the OPs that start the threads, your bravery is an inspriration. I have learnt a lot about myself and the effects of my history and for that I thank you all flowers

I have name changed as a handful of people in RL know bits of this and while it is very unlikely that they are here on MN I'm paranoid.

Will keep it as short as I can and would really appreciate any advice on how I can sort this out as I'm starting to really get myself stressed about it.

From birth to 4yr old my name was Jane Smith (in so far as this is what I believed for a long time).

4yrs-Mother moved myself and my 2yr old sister to live with a stepfather and I became Jane Brown.

I was definitely JBrown at school and at the doctors but I have no idea if this was done in any official way or not or whether the mothership just re-registered me with a new name when we moved away to our new life.

13 years old-Mother gets back with Mr Smith and I become JSmith again.

The name change here was sort of accepted as I vaguely remembered Mr Smith and it was a case of 'This is your real father, get on with it.'

From 13 onwards my whole life becomes Jane Smith - school, medical records, exam results, NI number, bank account, college and YTS ID card, provisional driving license and so on.

26yrs-Finally wrangle a birth certificate from my mother and my name on there is actually Jane Porter.

Mind blown. Although it was already blown from a traumatic childhood with an unhinged mother so I shouldn't have been too surprised. She at this point tells me that Mr Porter isn't even my father as she had an affair with Mr Edwards while Mr Porter was away with the navy. She ran away when she discovered she was pregnant and it was made clear that I shouldn't bring the subject up again.

Mother died suddenly two years later so I have no further information.

Anyway. I wanted the BC because I needed it to get a passport to have my first holiday abroad so this meant I now had two documents as Jane Porter. When I got back from holiday I did go to a legal advice centre and was told it could be sorted out for £500. I didn't have the money so decided to ignore the issue and carry on life. Being a panicky introvert with a fear of anyone in authority I needed no excuse to avoid People And Their Forms.

I lived and worked for 25 years as Jane Smith only using my Jane Porter BC and passport to get a new bank account when I split from my ex 10 years ago.

In the last five years nearly my whole life has become JPorter except for the three scariest things. My employer, HMRC and my medical records. They are still Jane Smith.

I want to leave my stressful job after 8 years there and I'm pretty certain that any new employer is going to want one of those original forms of ID so I need to bite the bullet and get this sorted out once and for all if I am to move forwards.

But how do I explain all that to officialdom? They are going to ask questions and want me to remember things and I don't need to go there. Just writing this has been hard enough and it's taken all night!

Main issues

I'm very very uncomfortable using the phone, especially with strangers.

Can both freeze verbally or rabbit on in an odd way when stressed. My brain seems to go at a hundred miles an hour and throws things into my mouth in a dis-jointed fashion when it gets ahead of me.

I had a breakdown 7 years ago and I'm worried that with my current stress and anxiety levels I could easily tip into despair if there is any hassle at all with this.

Where do I start oh wise ones?

thegreylady Sat 04-Feb-17 22:20:33

I would start at The Citizens Advice Bureau. Someone there should be able to help you sort it all out and decide which name you will go by.

PrettyDarnQuick Sun 05-Feb-17 00:17:48

I don't have any real advice just wanted to give you a virtual hand-squeeze and tell you: you can get this sorted. One small step at a time.

Just break it all into chunks, i.e. What is the next practical step I need to take? (Google a number, dig out a certificate, bite the bullet and make a phone call, etc...) and just take one step at a time.

Agree that Citizens Advice Bureau may be helpful if you can bear it.

Big love OP, you can do this.

LarkDescending Sun 05-Feb-17 00:56:00

Step 1: breathe!

You have had a complicated route to get to this point, but it need not be all that complicated going forward.

Do you want to be known as Jane Porter from now on? If so, the detailed history is not anybody's business really. You are perfectly entitled to say to your employer "Although I have been known as Jane Smith during my employment here, I have decided to return to my birth name, Jane Porter. Here is my birth certificate showing that name. Please update my records".

You can ask your employer/HR for help in making any consequential changes re etc. Here's a government page about notifying changes to HMRC.

LarkDescending Sun 05-Feb-17 01:02:11

^re tax etc, that should have said.

Regarding health records, I'd suggest contact your GP surgery giving a similar simple explanation, showing them your Jane Porter birth cert and passport if you wish, and ask if anything further is required in order for your records to be updated.

magentafrog Sun 05-Feb-17 10:37:06

Agree that the complex back story isn't anyone's business and isn't actually relevant to changing your name.

I can see why you are feeling how you do but understandably you've built this up into a bigger issue than it is from a purely administrative perspective.

Lark give good advice.

magentafrog Sun 05-Feb-17 10:37:41


TheHorseWithNoName Sun 05-Feb-17 19:09:59

Thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. I'll start with the surgery as it looks like that could be straightforward.

Thank you Lark for putting into words exactly what I can say to them.

I'll take a deep breath and try and get that sorted this week.

WeeMcBeastie Sun 05-Feb-17 22:46:06

Have you thought about changing your name back by deed poll? I was advised to do this when I returned to my maiden name after getting divorced. It only cost around £33 but I purchased additional certificates because most companies/organisations want originals and you can only get one copy of your decree absolute. This was the reason I was advised to use deed poll.

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