Wedding bells? Things to Consider before Taking your Spouse’s Last Name in Ontario

If you just got married or are planning to get married soon, well, congratulations are in order!

We do agree that the proposition of taking your spouse’s name seems exciting. However, and without being party poopers, we would like to point out that the process is not straightforward and might seem daunting at first.

We bring to you the know-hows of changing your name after marriage in Ontario.

Apply for Marriage Certificate Online

To initiate the process of name change, ensure that you have your marriage certificate.

Usually, the marriage officiant provides the forms needed to apply for your marriage certificate. You may also apply for the certificate by applying online. Needless to say applying online would be faster and the submission of the documents would be instant.

Be mindful that the marriage certificate is a different document than your Record of Solemnization of Marriage and marriage license. You need to be aware of- first and last names or single names of both parties to the marriage, dates of birth of both parties to the marriage, date of marriage, and name of city, reserve or town where the marriage took place in.

“Assume a Last Name” vs. “Legally Change your Last Name”

Now there are two ways of changing your name as per Service Ontario’s website. The first one is, “assume a last name” and second, “legally change your name”.

Both the options are to take your spouse’s last name. Let us point out that the second option is slightly more challenging. Legally changing your name requires more time, is expensive ($137 per application) and would also impact your birth certificate. If you are a lawyer, you must practice law under your legal name, so you may need to legally change your name if you wish to be professionally known as your new last name.

The first option is free of charge and will not affect the birth certificate. Assuming a last name after marriage, however, would impact your name on government documents such as, health card, driver’s license, Ontario Photo Card, and enhanced driver’s license.

Visit Service Ontario

All you need to do to “assume a last name” is to visit Service Ontario with your: Marriage Certificate, current photo health card (or 3 original documents to prove you are a Canadian Citizen and Ontario resident) and driver’s license, enhanced driver’s license or Ontario Photo Card.

Changes to be made in person (Banks and passport)

Changing your name on these government documents might not always be enough. To maintain consistency everywhere, information on your passport and bank documents would require change also.

These changes will have to be made in person. Banks would ordinarily need to see the marriage certificate before making the change. You may also be required to fill out a form or provide identification by relying on proofs, such as your Ontario health card or driver’s licence with your new name. For passport, however, the process may be slightly more daunting and a new application for the name change would have to be submitted.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) card

It would also be safer to update your SIN to your new name. While it is not mandatory to do so, as abundance of caution, some people prefer having their SIN details altered. To update your SIN, you’ll need to fill out an application and provide supporting documents. The application can be filled out online, by mail or in person. If you apply by mail or in person, you’ll need to submit original copies of your documents, so it might be prudent to apply online.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Let’s not forget about CRA! You’ll need to update the CRA not just with your new name but also with your change of marital status. You have until the end of the following month after your status changed to notify the CRA.

Both your marital status and your name can be updated online.

Update car insurance

Your car insurance would need your updated information also. You’ll have to call the insurance provider and tell them your updated information and your spouse’s insurance information. The insurance provider would require your last name, your license number, spouse’s name and license number and their car insurance detail and policy number.

Other places

Work: If everything else is being changed, it might be useful to also change the details in your work records. This also ensures everyone at work knows you are now taken.

Officially, this information may be needed to apprise your payment and tax paperwork. If your name in the records of CRA has changed then it’s only fair that your name in your paystubs matches with the name in the records of CRA. Getting your name changed in your work email or directory would be a personal choice.

Phone, internet & utilities: This is just a personal preference for anyone who gets a name change. This can also easily be done online by logging into your online accounts and updating your personal information.

Social media: The easiest of them all! Simply log in, make the change and probably put a story about the change!

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