Make Their Name Your Own: The Difference Between Assuming and Changing Last Names for Newlyweds

This information is based on that provided by the Province of Ontario and may not be applicable to couples living out of the province.

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So you know you want to use your partners last name now that you're married (if you don't, that's cool too but you might as well skip this post!) but you have some questions and Facebook groups are making your head spin! No worries, let me cut out the noise.

First Question: Am I changing my name or assuming theirs? Is there even a difference?

Yes, there is a difference and ultimately the choice is yours.

If you legally change your last name the process will involve reissuing your Birth Certificate with your married name (honestly I can't say I know anyone who goes this route but it's your call).

If you assume their last name (the most popular of the two options by far) then you're legally modifying your current last name  - but you're Birth Certificate stays the same since, let's face it, getting married doesn't need to change who you were born as. 

Question Two: What's involved in assuming a new last name?

This is a super easy option and as long as you're legally married, is open to all! Yup, that's right, it doesn't matter your gender, either person can assume the others last name! 

If you go this route, you are able to modify your Health Card, Drivers Licence, Ontario Photo Card, Passport, Credit Cards, SIN, Bank Accounts you name it - really anything currently being used to identify yourself. 

It's a simple process, just take your Marriage Certificate (you remembered to order that right? if not head over here.) and current Photo Health Card to your nearest Service Ontario branch and they can change most of your Government Issued ID there. If you opt to change your SIN to align with Revenue Canada that means a trip to a Service Canada outlet, and your Passport is something you might wait to change until it's nearing expiry as you will need to reapply for that. Anything else you have is generally a quick phone call to change and you are all set!

What if I really want to change it all?

If you want to jump in and change everything including your Birth Certificate you can, but the process is a little bit less accessible. Click here to see how you can request an application to change your name - but this one is time sensitive - applications made within the first 90 days are free, but after that you will need to pay :(

Cheers, 

Sarah