New York Legal Name Change
Below are the relevant state statutes, as well as links to the form petitions and instructions for obtaining a legal name change for yourself or a minor.
If, after reviewing the information below, you find the need for further legal assistance, you should visit this online legal service.
If you are seeking a marriage name change or a divorce name change, your marriage license or divorce decree can serve as your legal name change document. Thus you can proceed to Name Change Notification, the final step of the name change process. Otherwise, read the information below and follow the links to learn about obtaining a legal name change.
New York State Code:
Sec. 60. Petition for change of name. A petition for leave to assume another name may be made by a resident of the state to the county court of the county or the supreme court in the county in which he resides, or, if he resides in the city of New York, either to the supreme court or to any branch of the civil court of the city of New York, in any county of the city of New York. The petition to change the name of an infant may be made by the infant through his next friend, or by either of his parents, or by his general guardian, or by the guardian of his person.
Sec. 61. Contents. The petition must be in writing, signed by the petitioner and verified in like manner as a pleading in a court of record, and must specify the grounds of the application, the name, date of birth, place of birth, age and residence of the individual whose name is proposed to be changed and the name which he proposes to assume. The petition must also specify whether or not the petitioner has been convicted of a crime or adjudicated a bankrupt, and whether or not there are any judgments or liens of record against the petitioner or actions or proceedings pending to which the petitioner is a party, and, if so, the petitioner must give descriptive details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to.
Upon all applications for change of name by persons born in the state of New York, there shall be annexed to such petition either a birth certificate or a certified transcript thereof or a certificate of the commissioner or local board of health that none is available.
Sec. 62. Notice. If the petition be to change the name of an infant, notice of the time and place when and where the petition will be presented must be served, in like manner as a notice of a motion upon an attorney in an action, upon (a) both parents of the infant, if they be living, unless the petition be made by one of the parents, in which case notice must be served upon the other, if he or she be living, and (b) the general guardian or guardian of the person, if there be one. But if any of the persons, required to be given notice by this section, reside without the state, then the notice required by this section must be sent by registered mail to the last known address of the person to be served. If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that a person required to be given notice by this section cannot be located with due diligence within the state, and that such person has no known address without the state, then the court may dispense with notice or require notice to be given to such persons and in such manner as the court thinks proper.
Sec. 63. Order. If the court to which the petition is presented is satisfied thereby, or by the affidavit and certificate presented therewith, that the petition is true, and that there is no reasonable objection to the change of name proposed, and if the petition be to change the name of an infant, that the interests of the infant will be substantially promoted by the change, the court shall make an order authorizing the petitioner to assume the name proposed. The order shall further recite the date and place of birth of the applicant and, if the applicant was born in the state of New York, such order shall set forth the number of his birth certificate or that no birth certificate is available. The order shall be directed to be entered and the papers on which it was granted to be filed prior to the publication hereinafter directed in the clerk’s office of the county in which the petitioner resides if he be an individual, or in the office of the clerk of the civil court of the city of New York if the order be made by that court. Such order shall also direct the publication, at least once, within twenty days after the making of the order, in a designated newspaper in the county in which the order is directed to be entered, of a notice in substantially the following form:
Notice is hereby given that an order entered by the………… court,………… county, on the…… day of……., bearing
Index Number……….., a copy of which may be examined at the office of the clerk, located at……….., in room number…….,
grants me the right to assume the name of……………………..
My present address is…………………; the date of my birth is………………….; the place of my birth is…………………..;
my present name is………………………..
Sec. 64. Effect. If the order shall be fully complied with, and within forty days after the making of the order, an affidavit of the publication thereof shall be filed in the office in which the order is entered, the petitioner shall be known by the name which is thereby authorized to be assumed.
If the surname of a parent be changed as provided in this article, any minor child of such parent at the time of such change may thereafter assume such changed surname. Upon compliance with the order and the filing of the affidavit of the publication, as provided in this section, the clerk of the court in which the order has been entered shall certify that the order has been complied with. Such certification shall appear on the original order and on any certified copy thereof and shall be entered in the clerk’s minutes of the proceeding.
Sec. 64-a. Exemption from publication requirements. If the court shall find that the publication of an applicant’s change of name would jeopardize such applicant’s personal safety, the provisions of sections sixty-three and sixty-four of this article requiring publication shall be waived and shall be inapplicable. The court shall order the records of such change of name proceeding to be sealed, to be opened only by order of the court for good cause shown or at the request of the applicant.
Sec. 65. Optional change of name upon marriage, divorce or annulment.
1. Any person may, upon marriage, elect to assume a new name according to the provisions of paragraph (b) of subdivision one of section fifteen of the domestic relations law.
2. Any person may, upon divorce or annulment, elect to resume the use of a former surname according to the provisions of section 240a of the domestic relations law.
3. The effect of the name changes accomplished in the manner prescribed in subdivisions one and two of this section shall be as set forth in section sixty-four of this chapter.
4. Nothing in this article shall be construed to abrogate or alter the common law right of every person, whether married or single, to retain his or her name or to assume a new one so long as the new name is used consistently and without intent to defraud.
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