As you know, the main reason we started French Wedding Style is to provide inspiration, planning tips and vendors to English speaking brides travelling and eloping to France for their dream weddings.
After a beautiful ceremony and celebration with loved ones, you come home to face the somewhat onerous task of having to change your surname on all of your documentation.
Easy Name Change have joined forces with French Wedding Style for a mini-series on changing your name after marriage in some of the top cities around the world who read our blog… First up – Ontario, Canada!
Congratulations on your marriage!
If you’re planning to change names there is a good chance you may be a bit confused with what happens next. How does each organization find out about your new name? What official steps do you need to take? What name can you take? Some parts of the process are a little different in Ontario, so let’s break down each of these questions.
How do companies find out about my new name?
“It surprises many people that there is no central ‘register’ of names” says Easy Name Change founder, Genevieve Dennis. “Each organization needs to be notified directly and companies cannot share your records”.
This means it’s the responsibility of the account holder to contact each company one by one to learn the name change process, request any forms and send in the request, providing any necessary proof. As an added complexity, there is no single name change process as this is set by each company.
This means anyone changing names will need to send in some forms, write some letters and send some emails. There will also be places to visit in person, call or log into your account online and upload proof.
This is the most time-consuming part of your name change as newlyweds have an average of 24 different companies to notify. If you decide to do all the research and paperwork yourself allow 8 hours, which is just 20 minutes per company.
If you would rather save yourself a day of tedious administration then purchase an Easy Name Change kit. Simply select which organizations you need to update and receive simple instructions for each company along with ready to send forms, letters and emails. Attach your marriage certificate, sign and send.
If you’re ready to change names now, start choosing your companies.
What name can I take?
The fun part is deciding what new name you can take, although this can be a little sad with some newlyweds not ready to let go of their old name. The same name change options are available to all newlyweds across Canada, so read our married name change article here for a more comprehensive breakdown.
The first 2 options can be done with only a marriage certificate, with the third option requiring a legal name change.
- Swap your surname with your spouse’s
- Add your surname to your spouse’s. Names can be separated by a space or a hyphen. The surnames can appear in either order, but in traditional relationships the groom’s surname often appears last.
- Any other change (requires a legal name change). This could be changing the spelling of the chosen surname or blending part of each surname to create a new surname. The applicant may also choose to add, change or drop a given name at the same time.
What proof do you need?
No matter how you proceed, most organizations will need to see proof of your new name. If you are taking your spouse’s surname (as per the first 2 examples above) then simply show your marriage certificate.
Foreign issued marriage certificates are also accepted if they are in English or French, or are provided with an approved translation. A legal name change certificate showing your new married name is also accepted as proof.
If you are making any changes to your given names or taking a different surname you must show either a legal name change certificate or amended birth certificate. These can be issued by any Vital Statistics agency in Canada, however if you currently reside in Ontario then you must apply in Ontario.
Service Ontario provides spouses the option of applying for a legal name change to take their partner’s surname. If you look through the information on the Service Ontario website it is not very clear if this is recommended or even beneficial, so let us break down the full range of options along with advantages and limitations.
1. Ontario Marriage Certificate
This allows for an assumed name change. The big difference being that your birth certificate cannot change. It is not necessary to update your birth certificate to take your spouse’s surname. Should you ever need to prove either your married name, simply show your Ontario marriage certificate! This is the simplest and most straight forward way to change names.
As an assumed name is not a legal name, you have no strict time frame to complete the name change or update your identification and accounts. You may choose to change names as soon as your marriage certificate arrives, or you may only decide to change names years later, perhaps if expecting children.
You have the added advantage of being able to go back to your former name at any time and for any reason without any special filings and no matter what your relationship status. Simply show both your marriage and birth certificates to revert back.
If you do not already have your Ontario marriage certificate, order online from Service Ontario for $15 each. You only need the one copy, but you can choose to get multiple copies if you like.
2. Legal Name Change After Marriage
If you want to update your Canadian birth certificate with your married name, you can apply for a legal name change with Service Ontario. This process requires you to forgo use of any prior name, effective immediately, so you will be unable to use your former name in any capacity.
There is no particular advantage in filing for a legal name change to take your spouse’s surname. It does not make the process of updating your records or proving your identity any different from a person that assumes their spouse’s surname.
You have the option of adding your new legal name onto your full birth certificate or onto children’s birth certificates, should you decide to reorder these certificates. There is no special requirement for this and there are no organizations that require these certificates to be updated.
You are obliged to get all identification and records changed over as soon as practical. Should you ever decide you want to go back to your former name for any reason, you are required to complete another legal name change application.
Each legal name change application costs $137.
Visit Service Ontario Legal Name Change for more information.