The traditional thing to do when you get married is to change your name. Now modern-day brides may choose to change their name after marriage or may choose not to. It’s whatever you decide! For the brides who do decide to assume their spouse’s last name, today’s blog post is for you. I decided to change my name once I got married, and so today I thought I’d share my experience of changing my name. Every province has different laws or processes, so I want to emphasize I am only sharing my personal experience here in the province of Ontario. Be sure to check online on your provincial government website for instructions on how to change your name in your province.
Step 1: Decide How You Will Change Your Name
I bet you didn’t know there were two different ways of changing your last name? (If you did, you have one on me because I had no idea!!) You can assume your spouse’s last name or you can legally change your last name. The key difference between these methods is that assuming a spouse’s last name does not change the name on your Ontario birth registration and there is no cost involved once you have your marriage certificate. To legally change your name to your’s spouse’s last name it will change the name on your Ontario birth registration and could have a cost involved. This blog post will share my personal experience assuming my spouse’s last name.
Step 2: Apply For Your Marriage Certificate
For me this was the most painful part of the whole process. Well actually the process itself wasn’t painful, but waiting for this step to be done was. Your marriage certificate is something you have to order after your marriage is registered. Your marriage certificate proves you are legally married. As a techie person I chose to order my marriage certificate online. On ServiceOntario’s website they have a link to order your marriage certificate online, click here to see. On this page they also have the instructions if you would prefer to apply by mail or fax. Once you’ve placed your order it’s just waiting. It’s not waiting for the marriage certificate to be issued that causes the delay, it waiting for the marriage to be registered that causes the delay. The registration of marriage took 12 weeks for me personally. Once it was registered then my marriage certificate was issued right away, but the waiting just about killed me. 😉
Step 3: Update Your ID at ServiceOntario
You may be asked to provide ID with your new name with certain institutions when you want to change your name on your various accounts. So for this reason, the first thing you’ll want to update with your married name is your driver’s license. So find your nearest ServiceOntario and take your marriage certificate, current driver’s licence and health card to apply for new cards. While you’re there you can also update your car ownership! Two birds, one stone.
Step 4: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
If you have an online account with CRA (which I highly recommend by the way) you can update your info on their website here.
Step 5: Financial Institutions
Often banks will require you to go to the branch in person with your marriage certificate and updated license (don’t worry you’ll receive a temporary license until your physical new card is mailed to you in 6-8 weeks, so you can still do this step right away). Make sure you update all bank accounts (checking and savings), credit cards, TFSA and RRSP accounts you have. Also update your name on your life insurance policy as well.
Step 6: Your Workplace
Be sure to fill out the needed forms to change your last name on file at your workplace. Don’t forget to update your benefits company as well. Any professional associations or licenses you may have for your job will also need to be advised of your new name.
Step 7: Everything & Everybody Else
Once you’ve completed the previous steps that takes care of the most important things. From here it’s just updating everyone else and the remaining businesses you do business with.
- Social media accounts
- Health professionals
- Doctor’s office
- Rewards cards for airmiles, shopping, gas, etc
- Landlord or Mortgage
- Utilities companies
- Voter registration
- Newsletters and magazines subscriptions
- Various site logins
- Your email signature (or maybe you’ll decide to create a whole new email address)
While the process of assuming your spouse’s name after marriage is not a supremely difficult one, it will still take time, so be patient. I found it helped for me to create a list of all of the institutions and companies I do business with while I waited for my marriage certificate to be issued. Then as soon as I had my marriage certificate I crossed the businesses off my list when I updated them to my new married name.