Oct 2011-There are many situations where you may want to change your name. One of the most common is changing your last name on marriage. Although there is no formal requirement to change your name after marriage, many couples do so based on tradition. Changing your name based on marriage doesn't "legally" change your name as either spouse can assume the name of the other or use a combination of both names using a hyphen.
All you need to do to change your name after marriage is to use your marriage certificate to make the change on all your other identification (driver's licence, health card, passport, social insurance number (SIN) card, banks, etc). Most people choose this option because: It is free, it is easily reversible, and there is no long application process. The benefit of assuming a married name instead of doing a legal name change is that it does not change your last name on your birth certificate. Later, if you wish to use your own last name again, it is already on your birth certificate and you won't have to pay to change it back "legally". There is no cost to this process.
If you are married or living together as common-law, individuals can legally change their last name by completing the Election to Change Surname form. If you are common-law, you will also need to file a form called a Joint Declaration of Conjugal Relationship. Your new Ontario birth certificate will show your new name and your previous last name.
The only difference between a legal name change and assuming a married name is that a legal name change will alter the name on your birth certificate. Also, common-law couples who want to change their names must do so legally, as they do not have the option to assume (a marriage certificate is required). There is no fee if you legally change your name within 90 days of the date of marriage or of filing a joint declaration of conjugal relationship. If you legally change your name after 90 days following marriage or of filing a joint declaration of conjugal relationship, the fee is $25.
To legally change your name you must phone in to the Office of the Registrar General toll free at 1-800-461-2156 to get forms sent to you in the mail.
You can also change your last name back if you are currently married, separated, or in a common-law relationship by filing an Election to Resume Former Surname form.
You can formally and legally change your first and/or second name and/or last name as an adult. If you are 16 or 17-years-old may also apply to have your names changed as an adult, with the written consent of the person(s) who have lawful custody of you, unless the applicant is married or a judge has dispensed with the consent requirement.
To change your name as an adult, you must be at least 16 years of age or older and have lived in Ontario for at least one year before submitting a change of name application. You'll be issued a change of name certificate with your new legal name(s) and you'll receive a new birth certificate if you were born in Ontario. If you were not born in Ontario, you will need to apply to the province or territory in Canada or other country where you were born for a new birth certificate. The fee for a formal name change is currently $137. You can download the Application to Change an Adult's Name, fill it out, then mail in the completed form and original documents to the Office of the Registrar General.
To formally and legally change a child's name, the child must be under the age of 18 and have lived in Ontario for at least one year before submitting a change of name application. When you change a child's name, you will be issued a change of name certificate with their new legal name(s). A new birth certificate will be issued if the child was born in Ontario. If the child was not born in Ontario, you will need to apply to the other province or territory in Canada or other country where your child was born for a new birth certificate.
If you have sole custody of a child others may still be entitled to legal access to the child. If a court order is silent on the issue of access, you will be required to provide notice of the proposed name change to persons who might otherwise be entitled to legal access to the child (eg. a parent named on the child's birth registration but does not have custody of the child). The fee for a formal name change for a child, submitted on its own, is $137.
However, when a parent changes the child's name at the same time the parent changes his or her own name, the fee for each child 17 years of age or younger is $22. These applications must be submitted together.
Amendment of a child's name is an option if your child was born in Ontario, is under the age of 12, and is having their name changed to one that they could have been given when they were born (e.g. to a different first name or taking the mother, father or other parent's last name as listed on the birth registration). You will be also required to provide notice of the proposed name change to persons who might otherwise be entitled to legal access to the child.