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What You Need To Know Before Taking Your Spouse's Last Name In Ontario

It's not an easy process! 💒

Bride and groom first look. Right: Marriage certificate.

Bride and groom first look. Right: Marriage certificate.

Staff Writer

If wedding bells are in your future, you might be considering taking your spouse's last name. Once the cake is cut and the documents are signed, there are still a few more steps that need to be done in order to make the change official.

The process can seem a bit overwhelming, so here are a few things to know before changing your name in Ontario due to marriage, including where and how to do so.

You'll "assume" the last name

When you first do an online search on how to change your name, the Service Ontario website mentions two options: "assume a last name" and "legally change your last name."

While both options allow you to take your spouse’s last name, there are a few factors to consider. The "legal name change" option takes more time, costs money and will change your birth certificate as well. Assuming the name is free of charge and will not affect your birth certificate.

To assume a last name due to marriage, you will need your marriage certificate, your photo health card, and either a driver's licence or an Ontario Photo Card.

You can apply for your marriage certificate online

Typically, when you meet with your marriage officiant, they will provide the forms needed to apply for your marriage certificate, but you can also complete the application electronically.

The marriage certificate is a different document than your Record of Solemnization of Marriage and marriage licence and it is needed if you plan on changing your last name.

The marriage needs to be registered first, which your officiant will do on your behalf (likely within a day or so of the ceremony). The process takes about six to eight weeks and then you can apply for your licence.

The forms provided in person can only be submitted by mail (depending on where you live), but there is an electronic form that is a quicker option. It asks for the same details as the paper form but is submitted instantly.

Go to Service Ontario first

So you received your marriage certificate in the mail — now what? Your first visit will be to Service Ontario in order to change your last name on your driver's licence and provincial health card. You'll bring the marriage certificate as well as your current pieces of identification with you.

Hot tip: If you own a vehicle, you can also bring your vehicle ownership (registration) and make that change as well.

Some changes need to be in person

Name change requirements differ at many establishments. While some things are easily done on your end — like your email address and phone apps — other items need to be done in person.

Changing information on your passport and with most banks will require an in-person visit. Banks will typically need to see the marriage certificate as well unless you have an online bank that doesn't have a branch location. As for your passport, you will need to submit a new application.

When in doubt, call the place first to confirm how to make the change and which documents are required.

Car insurance will need your spouse's info

Did you know that when you live with another licensed driver, your car insurance requires you to report that in case they drive your vehicle? If your family member is not on file and you need to use your insurance, they actually could deny the claim.

You'll want to call your car insurance provider and give them your updated information as well as your new spouse's insurance information.

They require your new last name, your new diver's licence number, your spouse's name and license number, your spouse's car insurance company and their policy number.

Keep a list handy

The number of name changes can seem overwhelming, so it's a good idea to keep a list of all the spots that need updating.

You'll also want to make some changes close together. For example, your doctor's office(s) should have the updated name around the same time as your pharmacy and health insurance company for billing purposes. Your car insurance change should also be made right after your vehicle ownership has been updated.

Here are some main places to change your last name:

  • Driver's licence and health card
  • Vehicle registration
  • Car insurance
  • Canadian Revenue Agency
  • Banking information
  • Doctors' offices and pharmacy
  • Work
  • Health insurance
  • Passport
  • Utility bills (hydro, phone, etc.)
  • Apps and accounts
Congratulations, newlywed — get ready to make a bunch of phone calls.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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