How To Legally Change Your Name
Any adult in New York aged 18 or over can petition to change his or her name as long as it is not done to defraud or infringe on the rights of another person or entity (i.e., creditors).
In order to formally and legally change one’s name, it is necessary to Petition to the Supreme Court and /or the Civil court and provide the Court with various information, including a reasonable yet simple justification for the request. In the case of a child, both parents generally must approve of the requested name change. If one parent does not agree then a hearing becomes necessary for the court to determine if the change is in the child’s best interests. If a mother, for instance, wants to change the last name of the child to her maiden name and the father does not agree then the father can object and the court will determine in a hearing if the change is approved. If the father does not exercise visitation, fails to pay support, etc., this will work against him at the hearing. The person seeking the change has the burden of proof that the change is in the child’s best interests.
If the name change request is approved, notification of the name change must be published in an appropriate newspaper (i.e., SI Advance) before the change becomes effective.
Once the name change is published, the application becomes complete upon filing the affidavit of publication with the court and the Court’s Order will enable the individual to obtain a modified birth certificate, passport, Social Security card, driver’s license and any other forms of identification, which will reflect the change. The process takes two-three months to complete.
Notes: A divorce judgment automatically gives you the right to resume any former surname or maiden name. A final Order of Adoption allows the adoptive parents to change the child’s name as well in the Order. Separate petitions are not required in these circumstances.
Please call my office to discuss your name change requests: 718-720-1000.