In Alberta, the Vital Statistics Act allows individuals to apply to have their first, middle or last name legally changed. If an individual was born in Canada, they can apply to change their name as shown on their birth record. If they were not born in Canada, they can apply to change their name as shown on the document under which they were lawfully admitted to Canada.
Who can change your name?
An individual may apply to change their own name if:
1. they are over 18 years of age,
2. they are under 18 years of age but are married, divorced, widowed, have an adult interdependent
3. they are a parent or guardian of a minor.
An individual may apply to change the first or last name of their spouse or adult interdependent partner with the consent of that partner. It should be noted, that the Act does not permit an individual to apply for a name change if they have been convicted of a designated offence, as defined by the regulations of the Vital Statistics Act.
Changing your child’s name
A parent or guardian of a child may make an application to change the name of their child, but the consent of both parents listed on the child’s birth record, and the consent of all guardians (if different from the child’s parents) is generally required to complete the change. If the child that is subject of a name change application is 12 years of age or older, the consent of the child to change their name is also required. There are some circumstances under which the consent of all guardians, or parents listed on the child’s birth record is not required to complete a change of a child’s name.
If the applicant is a parent and the sole guardian of the child, they may apply to change their child’s name without the consent of the other parent. If there is a court order that appoints guardians of a child in lieu of the parents, the consent of the child’s guardian(s) is required, but the consent of the child’s biological parents is not required.
A parent or guardian may apply to Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta to dispense with the requirement of consent of the other parent or guardians of the child. In these circumstances, a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta will review the parent or guardian’s application to change a child’s name, and having regard to the best interests of the child, determine whether to dispense with the consent of the child’s other parents or guardians to confirm the name change.
As such, if completed properly, a successful Application will result in an Order of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta allowing a parent or guardian change the name of their child without the necessity of the consent of the other guardians and/or parents, which may not be possible in that given situation.
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