After getting married, finding out the correct name change procedure and getting all your paperwork organized can feel overwhelming. Especially when you have way better things to do! Follow our pro tips to organize your name change and know where to start.
1. Decide on your new name
First, you have to decide if you’re even changing names! It’s still most popular for one spouse to take their spouse’s surname (yep, usually the bride). In Canada changing your name after marriage is not a legal name change. You can simply assume your spouse’s surname by showing your marriage certificate.
Either spouse to the wedding has the same name change options. You can remain known by your current name, assume your spouse’s surname or create a hyphenated name after marriage, or use both your and your spouse’s surnames. (Unless you live in BC – you can’t have a hyphenated name unless you apply for a legal name change.) These options do not require a legal name change, it simply means that you assume your spouse’s name – your name never legally changes and your birth certificate remains the same. A less common but more modern option is to create a new surname from the combination of both of your surnames, however, you will need to file a legal name change.
2. Decide if you’ve got time to DIY or save hassle with a kit
It’s your responsibility to get all accounts, identification and memberships changed over in a reasonable time frame. Each organization can stipulate how you should tell them about your name change (eg: send a letter, form, email, login, visit a branch, call). The average Canadian newlywed has 25 organizations to notify. If you allow 20 minutes per organization, that’s 8 hours of time wasted on hold, looking for forms and figuring out what goes where. Companies are slow to respond to questions, so this is usually spread over several weeks.
Got better things to do? Save weeks of hassle with our name change notification kit. Simply check off the organizations you need to update and get ready to send forms, letters and emails. Attach the proof listed and send off. Yep. It’s that easy!
3. Get your proof documents
The statement of marriage from the person who performed the ceremony is not accepted as proof of your new name. Before ordering your marriage certificate work out how many originals, photocopies and certified copies you need. You can get by with just one original marraige certificate as you usually don’t need to mail it anywhere.
4. Take care of any in-person name changes
If you’ve bought a name change kit review the company checklist to know where you need to go in person. There’s usually one or two places. Whenever you go in person, always take your original marriage certificate. It’s a good idea to have phoot ID, like a passport and driver’s licence handy. We recommend getting your driver’s licence updated first, as this can be used as proof of your new name with smaller places, like whenever you visit a library, vet or doctor.
5. Send off your notifications
Bought a kit? Great – you can just attach a photocopy or certified copy to each form, letter and email as indicated.
If you contacted all your companies yourself it’s best to wait until each company has confirmed their process, then you only need to hit the photocopier and get certified copies made up once.
- Honestly, buy an Easy Name Change kit. You’ll get an entire day of your life back. If you’re not happy for any reason, request a refund within 60 days. It’s risk free and you get a bonus day or newlywed life!
- Prioritize credit cards. Then when you update subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify you can update your billing details at the same time (painfull as it is – a new card with a new number will be issued so all direct debits need to be reset!)
- Set yourself a time limit in which you want to achieve your name change. Having multiple identities will be tricky.
- If you work full time consider taking off half a day to get all your in person name changes done at once.
- Questions? Speak with our Canadian name change specialists! Contact details in the footer!