Do I have to get a legal name change to change my surname when I get married or divorced?



No. In both Alberta and Saskatchewan, you may choose to use the surname of your husband or wife (yes, some husbands adopt their wives’ names too) without going through a legal name change. You may also choose to use your long-term partner’s name if you are classified as “adult interdependent partners” in Alberta (living together 3 years, or have a child together) or “spouses” in Saskatchewan (living together 2 years).

Upon marriage, or upon becoming an adult interdependent partner or a spouse, you may simply adopt the use of your spouse’s name, without further formality. Some institutions will not require any documentation to change your name on their file. However, to change your surname on government documents such as a passport, driver’s license, etc., you may be required to produce a copy of your birth certificate and/or marriage certificate. Each agency has different requirements, so it is best to contact each place individually.

On divorce or separation, you may choose to revert back to your surname before this relationship, your maiden name, or keep your spouse’s surname. If you chose to drop the use of your spouse’s surname, you will be required to simply reverse the steps you took to change your surname in the first place. You will likely be required, again, to produce your birth certificate and/or divorce certificate.