How to Apply for a Name Change After a Divorce

Name written with wooden cubes

Just got divorced and now you want to change your name? 

It is actually a lot easier than you think and takes only a couple of steps to complete. 

We’ve outlined the exact steps on how to apply for a name change after a divorce. 

What documents do you need to update?

By law, you can assume your spouse’s last name after a marriage on government documents, without legally changing it. There is no cost to assume your spouse’s last name on the above documents.

But if you legally changed your name after you got married you will need to legally change your name back. 

You will need to change all Ontario government documents/cards such as: 

  1. Health Card 
  2. Driver’s License 
  3. Ontario Photo Card 

You will also need to change all federally issued government documents/cards such as: 

  1. Passport
  2. Nexus 

Be sure to change any additional documents that you had changed when you got marriage that might be outside of provincial or federal documents (i.e. credit cards, billing statements etc.)

How to change your name back to your previous name?

If you legally change your last name due to marriage or conjugal relationship, you can change your name back to your previous last name by completing an Election to Resume Former Surname – Form 2. 

This service is only available if you legally changed your last name using the discontinued Election to Change Surname service.

There are a couple ways to submit this form to government:

  1. By Mail: Office of Registrar’s Office in Thunder Bay
  2. In Person: Service Ontario on Sheppard Ave. East 

There is also a $25 cost associated with updating your name.

What happens if your documents are not in English or French?

As per the Ontario government requirements, all documentation that is submitted for change needs to be in either French or English. 

If the document is in a different language, than it will need to be translated from either ATIO (Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario) registered translator or a person who can fluently speak both English/French and the translated language and be willing to sign an affidavit stating that the translation is 100% authentically accurate. 

When submitting, do not submit any photocopies as they will need to be the original document in order for the change to be accepted. 

What about Changing your Child’s Name? 

This is a little trickier.  

In order to change your child’s name you either need a Court Order or Separation Agreement setting out that you are allowed to do so, or you need to be the custodial parent and you must put the other party on notice that you are applying to change the name. 

If you are the custodial parent and it is your intention to change your child’s name it is important to get this term added to the document or order that gives you custody. 


Questions about changing your name? Or need help with the required documents?

Feel free to call our office today to book a free 30-minute consultation.

This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.