Customer Service at the RTA

“I am recently widowed and I want to change the name on my licence back to my maiden name” I told the lifeless, bored young woman at the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) counter.

“Do you have your marriage certificate?” she asked without looking at me.

I produced a certified copy of the certificate and laid it on the counter in front of her.

“Oh” she said, finally looking at me “and I’ll need the divorce papers”.

“I don’t know if you know this” I said after a small pause “but you don’t actually need to get divorced if your husband is dead. Here is the death certificate”.

She looked down at the two pieces of paper in front of her and frowned “Where are the originals?”

“The courts have them because they are still deciding whether I deserve to be the executor of my husband’s estate. Apparently being separated for six weeks after sixteen years of marriage somehow puts my eligibility in question” I told her.

She wasn’t listening to me. She was fixated on the white photocopies in front of her and roughly pushed them back at me.

“We can’t do anything without the originals so you’ll have to get them and come back”.

So here I am filling in Births, Deaths and Marriages applications again for replacement certificates and paying another $80 for the privilege. Ironically, I’m using my licence to prove my identity so that they’ll send them to me. It is funny who makes such a fuss about this and who doesn’t — the bank, airlines and the passport office are completely happy with a certified copy but the old RTA wants to make sure I’m not a fraud.

Soon it will all be over — I will no longer be Mrs H on any of my documentation, I will be Miss P as I once was, and will be for the rest of my life.

(Some of the my responses to her questions were enhanced for dramatic purposes but ALL of it went on in my head!)

About Katie Paul

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing • Join the hottest group on FB → Sassy Midlife Women

0 thoughts on “Customer Service at the RTA

  1. Hi Katie,

    Yes, bureaucracy has a mind of its own. And it’s out of its mind. I’m sorry for the administrative headaches.

    I am following your posts with interest and trying to catch up on past ones. You have special meaning for me as you understand. Thank you for connecting.

    But the end of your post, while understandable, I wish I could help change. You finish with “… I will be Miss P as I once was, and will be for the rest of my life.”

    That sounds like you’ve given up on ever finding love again. Or perhaps you’re just being pragmatic and understand that it’s not worth the hassles of going through a name change again should you find love and marriage in your future. I hope it’s the latter. And I do hope you have no given up on happiness.

    The wounds are still fresh. I’m told that time heals all wounds. I hope it’s true, for both of us.

    – Phoenix

    1. I know you haven’t trawled through all my posts so you don’t know that I am deeply and madly in love for the first time in my life with the man I refer to as ‘Duckfish’. I have never been happier and the wounds have already healed, they are just scars now.

      I won’t be changing my name again because I’m rather uninterested in getting married again. Being a girlfriend suits me just fine because I like knowing that we choose to stay together even while the door to leaving is always open.

  2. Well actually, you don’t need to be divorced to change your name “back” to your maiden name.

    Your maiden name is always your name, we just assume a man’s name when we marry.

    You will need original birth and marriage certificates yes, but it doesn’t matter if you are a widow, divorcee or just sick of pretending to be someone else – your name is yours.

    1. Hey Kitty — long time no speak 🙂
      You and I know that a married name is just “also known as” and that you are always entitled to use your birth name but some sad bureaucrats like to make themselves feel important by making their customer’s life difficult.

  3. Kitty beat me to it. You could make a fuss (and I would on principle) because legally, you’re entitled to use the name on your birth certificate and change back to it any time you like, without having to be divorced or widowed.

    But then, I make an art form of complaining, because I hate bureaucracy(sp?) and love to mess with self-important little twits like that. 🙂

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