Marriage Name Change Trends in British Columbia

Marriage Name Change Trends in British Columbia


Marriage Name Change Trends in British Columbia

One of the final considerations after your marriage is your new name.  It can be difficult to find the right information on the internet as name change can be different by province.  For the most part, BC residents have the same options as most other Canadian provinces, except for creating a hyphenated, or double barreled surname.  We speak to Easy Name Change marketing manager, Genevieve Dennis, on the legal options for married name change.

‘It is fairly straight forward to change your name in BC’ says Ms Dennis.  ‘The only inconsistency with other Canadian Provinces is that the BC Vital Statistics office requests you file a legal name change application if you want to hyphenate your name.’   Ultimately each organization can set their own name change procedure. While some may allow a a double barreled suname on presentation of a wedding certificate, no Canadian government agency will allow this so you may have mismatching ID.

An increasing trend is for brides like to take their husband’s name and move their maiden name into a middle name, or to incorporate their maiden name one of their children’s names.  ‘For BC brides, this requires a legal name change as you have the addition of a new name, being your surname becoming a middle name’ notes Dennis. 

Unfortunately BC brides have no option to retain their maiden name if they are taking their husband's name unless they undertake a legal name change. Unlike other provinces, BC brides can't add their spouse's surname to their own and they can't make their maiden name a middle name on presentation of their wedding certificate.

BC brides must file a legal name change application with Vital Statistics. At the time of writing, this cost $137 (always check V.S. website for latest fees as they are subject to change without notice).

Where once the passports office could enanct a name change without proof of the client's name being changed with provincial authorities, this is no longer the case. This means that BC brides must file their name change with BC services or get an updated driver license (BCID) first. Only then will the passports office accept a name change request, ensuring the name on the passport is an exact match with the name on the client's BC Services card or BCID.

The most popular name change choice for modern brides is taking their husband’s name and dropping their maiden name altogether.  Many people are surprised to learn that over 80% of brides still take this traditional approach to their married name.  It is simple to change your name in this way and your marriage certificate is the only document required.

It is also legal for a bride to be know by both her maiden name and married name.  Many women in industry will change their legal documents into their husband’s name, yet chose to be known by their maiden name in professional circles.  This is frequently done by women who have established themselves a professional reputation.

Although small, one of the newest trends is taking a new surname entirely.  ‘As many couples take an even approach to life, they can chose a new surname that is of significance to both of them. We especially see this where the husband’s father has a distant relationship with the couple as the bride cannot see value in taking on a name with little significance’ remarks Dennis.  In these instances the couple may chose a different name altogether, or create a hybrid of both names, mashed together into a new name.

The final and no doubt simplest option is for the bride to keep her name as is.  A few women who chose this option reconsider their name when they decide to have children.  Because the children take the husband’s surname, there can be confusion at the hospital, at school and among other parents.  Its good to know that a bride can take on her husband’s name at any time on presentation of her marriage certificate.

How to change your name in BC and what other brides are doing.

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