When should I Change Names?

Marriage name change

If you’re thinking of changing names, chances are it will take you about 2-3 months to get all your records changed over. Most newlyweds start the process once their marriage certificate arrives which can be 4 to 8 weeks after you get married. Still, it is not uncommon to leave your name as it is, then reconsider changing names 5 or even 10 years later! The good news is that there’s no time frame on when you must change names, or even if you make the change at all! If you do make the change, it’s a good idea to get your records updated at the same time. It can be difficult trying to prove your identity or apply for bank accounts when you have various accounts and identification under different names.

Why does it take so long? Because you need to contact each company directly to learn their process. Companies can be slow to respond and you may be waiting weeks or even months for them to confirm the process or send a form. Save months and let us take care of all your paperwork!

Divorce name change

If you’ve been divorced you may choose to keep using your married name or change to your birth name. If you have been married more than once before you also have the option to be known by any former married name, provided you have never undertaken a legal name change.

In a recent survey of our customers, we found that divorce name change occurs anywhere from a few months, up to 20 years after the divorce. It’s common for mums to keep their married name until their children grow up, or if they or their ex-spouse begin a new relationship.

Separation name change/Reverting to maiden name without divorcing

If you took your spouse’s surname after getting married then chances are that you never legally changed names – you simply assumed your spouse’s name. This means you never gave up the right to be known by your former name. You are free to reclaim the use of your former name at any time and for any reason; it doesn’t matter what your personal situation or reasons are.

It can be painful and inconsistent when dealing with companies. Some may ask for a divorce certificate, separation agreement or resumption of former name certificate as it simplifies their administration, however, these proof documents are not available in every province. You can reclaim your former name without any additional documents. If you’re asked for any proof of relationship explain that you do not need this and you may instead show any of the following to support your name being changed: divorce order (usually fine on its own, if available), marriage and birth certificates together, updated photo ID.

Legal name change

If you are legally changing your name you need to start using your new name immediately and for all purposes. You must update your passport and driver’s licence as soon as practical.

The time between changing names and updating organizations and records hasn’t been quantified, but we recommend all your accounts and identification should be under your new name within 2 months of your name change being granted.

Ready to start changing names?

No matter your reason for changing names, we can help. Get researched name change procedures and all corresponding paperwork for over 750 Canadian companies. You may need to send a letter, email, form or visit a branch in person. Click the button below to get started.


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