Difference between revisions of "Name Changes (3:XIV)"

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{{REVIEWED LSLAP | date= September 29, 2020}}
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{{REVIEWED LSLAP | date= August 18, 2021}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = family}}
 
{{LSLAP Manual TOC|expanded = family}}
  
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At the time of marriage, a person may elect to:  
 
At the time of marriage, a person may elect to:  
*retain the surname they had immediately before marriage;
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* Retain the surname they had immediately before marriage;
*use the surname they had at birth; or  
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* Use the surname they had at birth; or  
*use the surname of their spouse by marriage.
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* Use the surname of their spouse by marriage.
  
 
==== b) A Parent with Custody of an Unmarried Child ====
 
==== b) A Parent with Custody of an Unmarried Child ====
  
 
A parent with custody may change the surname of their child. They must submit written consent of:  
 
A parent with custody may change the surname of their child. They must submit written consent of:  
*the child if the child has attained the age of l2 years;  
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* The child if the child has attained the age of l2 years;  
*the other parent, if living; and  
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* The other parent, if living; and  
*the applicant’s spouse if the application is to change the child’s surname to that of the applicant’s spouse.  
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* The applicant’s spouse if the application is to change the child’s surname to that of the applicant’s spouse.  
  
 
A parent with custody of an unmarried child may allow that child to informally use any surname they want, and that child may be registered in grade one under that name. No consent from the other parent is necessary in this case. A parent may apply to change a minor child’s name legally. It is also possible to apply for a change of name if the other parent:  
 
A parent with custody of an unmarried child may allow that child to informally use any surname they want, and that child may be registered in grade one under that name. No consent from the other parent is necessary in this case. A parent may apply to change a minor child’s name legally. It is also possible to apply for a change of name if the other parent:  
*a) is deceased or mentally disordered;  
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*a) Is deceased or mentally disordered;  
*b) cannot after reasonable, diligent and adequate search be located; or
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*b) Cannot after reasonable, diligent and adequate search be located; or
*c) is, in the option of the registrar general, unreasonably withholding their consent.  
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*c) Is, in the option of the registrar general, unreasonably withholding their consent.  
  
 
==== c) A Widowed Person ====
 
==== c) A Widowed Person ====
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To be eligible to change their name under the ''Name Act'', a person must be:  
 
To be eligible to change their name under the ''Name Act'', a person must be:  
*be an adult; or if a minor, must be a parent having custody of their children; and:  
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* Be an adult; or if a minor, must be a parent having custody of their children; and:  
*have been domiciled in British Columbia for at least 3 months or have resided in British Columbia for at least 3 months immediately before the date of the application (s 4(1)).   
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* Have been domiciled in British Columbia for at least 3 months or have resided in British Columbia for at least 3 months immediately before the date of the application (s 4(1)).   
  
 
=== 3. Procedure ===
 
=== 3. Procedure ===
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Application for a legal change of name must be accompanied by:  
 
Application for a legal change of name must be accompanied by:  
*i) the birth certificate, landed immigrant identification card or Canadian citizenship certificate of the applicant, and others included in the application;  
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*i) The birth certificate, landed immigrant identification card or Canadian citizenship certificate of the applicant, and others included in the application;  
*ii) a marriage certificate where the change affects the name of a married man or woman (not required for persons married in British Columbia);  
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*ii) A marriage certificate where the change affects the name of a married man or woman (not required for persons married in British Columbia);  
*iii) any required consents, as above;  
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*iii) Any required consents, as above;  
*iv) proof of custody from applicants who have been divorced, respecting any children included in the application who were born prior to the divorce;  
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*iv) Proof of custody from applicants who have been divorced, respecting any children included in the application who were born prior to the divorce;  
*v) the statutory fee of $137, and $27 for each additional individual; and  
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*v) The statutory fee of $137, and $27 for each additional individual; and  
*vi) proof of death from widowed applicants respecting any children included in the application.  
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*vi) Proof of death from widowed applicants respecting any children included in the application.  
  
 
:'''NOTE:''' Information can be obtained from the Division of Vital Statistics (Vancouver telephone: (604) 660-2937; website: http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/) regarding other related procedures such as a bride’s election of surname at marriage, and changes of name resulting from adoption, legitimisation of birth, dissolution of marriage, or due to improper registration of the birth originally.
 
:'''NOTE:''' Information can be obtained from the Division of Vital Statistics (Vancouver telephone: (604) 660-2937; website: http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/) regarding other related procedures such as a bride’s election of surname at marriage, and changes of name resulting from adoption, legitimisation of birth, dissolution of marriage, or due to improper registration of the birth originally.

Latest revision as of 10:08, 20 August 2021

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 18, 2021.



A. Legislation: Name Act, RSBC 1996, c 328[edit]

The instructions for changing a surname are outlined in the Name Act. It can be skipped if the change occurs during the marriage ceremony or divorce. The procedures for changing a first name are much less formal and are not set out in legal rules (see Section XIV.C: Changing a First Name). The Department of Vital Statistics provides a name change package complete with forms and instructions. They can be reached in Vancouver at (604) 660-2937.

Note the Court decision in Trociuk v British Columbia (Attorney General), [2003] 1 SCR 835 which declared ss 3(1)(b) and 3(6)(b) of the British Columbia Vital Statistics Act unconstitutional. These sections prevented a father from having the registration of the child’s surname altered, violating their rights under s 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

B. Changing a Surname[edit]

1. General[edit]

Any person may apply to change their own name.

a) At the Time of Marriage[edit]

At the time of marriage, a person may elect to:

  • Retain the surname they had immediately before marriage;
  • Use the surname they had at birth; or
  • Use the surname of their spouse by marriage.

b) A Parent with Custody of an Unmarried Child[edit]

A parent with custody may change the surname of their child. They must submit written consent of:

  • The child if the child has attained the age of l2 years;
  • The other parent, if living; and
  • The applicant’s spouse if the application is to change the child’s surname to that of the applicant’s spouse.

A parent with custody of an unmarried child may allow that child to informally use any surname they want, and that child may be registered in grade one under that name. No consent from the other parent is necessary in this case. A parent may apply to change a minor child’s name legally. It is also possible to apply for a change of name if the other parent:

  • a) Is deceased or mentally disordered;
  • b) Cannot after reasonable, diligent and adequate search be located; or
  • c) Is, in the option of the registrar general, unreasonably withholding their consent.

c) A Widowed Person[edit]

A widowed person may apply to change their surname. The applicant must submit a death certificate, or if the death occurred in British Columbia they may state date and place of death and name of spouse.

d) A Divorced Person[edit]

A divorced person may, upon divorce, go by the name listed on their birth certificate.

2. Eligibility[edit]

To be eligible to change their name under the Name Act, a person must be:

  • Be an adult; or if a minor, must be a parent having custody of their children; and:
  • Have been domiciled in British Columbia for at least 3 months or have resided in British Columbia for at least 3 months immediately before the date of the application (s 4(1)).

3. Procedure[edit]

NOTE: A change of name application can be included in the Notice of Family Claim and attached Schedule 5: Other Orders filed in divorce proceedings to avoid the procedure described below.

a) When the Applicant Has Already Assumed the Name[edit]

Sometimes the name to be legally adopted is one that has already been informally assumed. The assumed name should be indicated when preparing the application form. For example: “...change my name from John Doe, known as Henry Smith, to Henry Smith”.

b) Publishing Notices of Intention[edit]

A person who wishes to legally change their name is no longer required to publish a notice of intention.

c) Making the Application[edit]

When making application for a change in their surname or given name, or both the surname and given name, the applicant must insert their name in full in the notice of application for a change of name.

Application for a legal change of name must be accompanied by:

  • i) The birth certificate, landed immigrant identification card or Canadian citizenship certificate of the applicant, and others included in the application;
  • ii) A marriage certificate where the change affects the name of a married man or woman (not required for persons married in British Columbia);
  • iii) Any required consents, as above;
  • iv) Proof of custody from applicants who have been divorced, respecting any children included in the application who were born prior to the divorce;
  • v) The statutory fee of $137, and $27 for each additional individual; and
  • vi) Proof of death from widowed applicants respecting any children included in the application.
NOTE: Information can be obtained from the Division of Vital Statistics (Vancouver telephone: (604) 660-2937; website: http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/) regarding other related procedures such as a bride’s election of surname at marriage, and changes of name resulting from adoption, legitimisation of birth, dissolution of marriage, or due to improper registration of the birth originally.

C. Changing a First Name[edit]

1. Eligibility[edit]

Anyone may change their first name. However, minors should be advised that they must obtain the written consent of their parents to do so.

2. Procedure[edit]

The client does not need to go through the application procedures necessary for changing a surname. The client can start using another first name at any time.

All identification – including credit cards, driver’s license, social insurance card, school records (where applicable), health care cards, bank accounts, and birth certificates – should be changed to the first name being used. This can be done by contacting the relevant organizations and filling out a Change of Name Form.

Usually, the client’s former first name will become a middle name instead.


© Copyright 2021, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.