New York Name Change FAQ
- Where can I find the New York statutes pertaining to name change?
- What are some of the most popular reasons for a person changing his/her name?
- What are the fees involved with a name change application?
- How long will the entire application for change of name take?
- Can the entire procedure take place online or will a court appearance be necessary?
- If I was born in California but have since moved to New York, in which state should I file my application for change of name?
- I am only interested in changing my first name. Do your forms apply to this circumstance?
- Do I need to go through the court ordered procedure if I am only correcting my/my minor's first and/or middle name(s)?
- Are your name change forms appropriate if I have recently married?
- Are your name change forms appropriate in adoption proceedings or paternity actions?
- In your notes regarding this service it states that if someone has claimed bankruptcy, they should consider contacting a lawyer. I filed for bankruptcy but have been discharged for 5 years. Should I still consider using a lawyer or is it ok to use your name change materials?
- Does your product/service provide me with all the required forms, information and filing instructions?
- How does your Document Preparation Service work?
- If I choose to purchase the Document Preparation Service, will I still have to contact all entities to amend documents, for example, passport, driver's license, etc. Or will those changes be submitted for me through this process for Document Preparation?
- If the paternal father's name isn't on my stepdaughter's birth certificate do we need to notify the paternal father of our petition?
- What if someone files an objection to my request?
- What if the request to change my name is denied?
Name changes are governed by Article 6 Change of Name of the New York State Consolidated Laws: Civil Rights. The statutes can be found on-line by doing a simple search using Google or another search engine.(back to top)
Name changes are sought for many reasons. Perhaps you simply do not like your birth name and want a name that better suits you. Perhaps you're divorced and did not request that the Court restore your maiden name as part of the divorce proceedings and your state does not offer a simplified procedure, such as California. Perhaps, you are making or have made a career change, and feel that your birth name hinders you in your new job. As far as the reason(s) for your change of name, the reason(s) should be valid enough that a Judge would at least accept it/them. Remember that the reason(s) will go a long way in helping the Judge determine whether or not to grant your petition.
Name changes are common and are typically pretty easy to carry out. Our name change materials contain detailed filing instructions to help you successfully change your name without the cost of an attorney.(back to top)
The cost of our forms or service is the only charge we will collect. Other charges you may incur in the filing of any legal pleading with a court could include: filing fees, postage for certified mailings, fees associated with the signatures and seals of a Notary Public, publication fees and service of process charges. It is difficult to determine exactly what fees will be needed due to the varying circumstances surrounding any legal action or case. Moreover, the processes and requirements for a name change application vary sometimes from county to county or even courthouse to courthouse. We recommend that you contact your local court clerk for information regarding the exact current cost of these fees.(back to top)
Name change actions can take anywhere from a day, to six (6) months (sometimes even longer). The time it takes for such action to be ordered/decreed varies not only from county to county, but sometimes from courthouse to courthouse as well. Should time be a major factor for you, to see how long a name change at your local courthouse will take to process, we recommend that you contact the courthouse where you anticipate filing your particular legal action.(back to top)
We always recommend that our customers file their action (documents/forms) in-person at their local courthouse. This is the fastest, easiest and best approach to filing. Besides appearing to file your documents/forms, name change actions often require other appearances within court.
If you have further questions regarding court appearances pertaining to a name change application, we recommend that you contact your local court clerk with your questions.(back to top)
If I was born in California but have since moved to New York, in which state should I file my application for change of name?
In order to file for a name change, one must meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file. In other words, in order to petition a state for name change, you must be a permanent resident of that state. All states require a Petitioner/Applicant to be a resident of the state -- often for at least six months and sometimes for as long as one year -- before filing for a name change there. Someone who files for a name change, typically, must offer proof that (s)he has resided there for the required length of time.(back to top)
Our name change forms and services are applicable to changes of the first name, middle name, last name and/or any combination.(back to top)
Do I need to go through the court ordered procedure if I am only correcting my/my minor's first and/or middle name(s)?
If you are only correcting a first or middle name AND you (if the application for change of name is for a minor, than the minor) were (was) born in New York, one MAY NOT need to go through the court-ordered process. We recommend that you contact the Vital Records Department/Agency in New York. Contact information for the New York Office of Vital Statistics can be found at http://vitalrec.com/ny.html. You may also want to contact your local Court/County Clerk for further information.(back to top)
Our name change forms and services are not to be used when the name change is a result of marriage -- a simpler procedure should be involved. Our staff does not have details of these special procedures offered throughout the various jurisdictions. You are welcome to contact your local court clerk to learn more about the local procedures and whether you qualify.(back to top)
Our name change forms and services are not to be used in connection with an adoption or paternity action, since in such cases the name change should be done as part of that case or proceeding.(back to top)
In your notes regarding this service it states that if someone has claimed bankruptcy, they should consider contacting a lawyer. I filed for bankruptcy but have been discharged for 5 years. Should I still consider using a lawyer or is it ok to use your name change materials?
Our name change materials (information, products and services) are for simple uncontested name change actions only. Attempting to change one's name when contemplating filing for bankruptcy and/or after one has claimed bankruptcy can be complicated and our name change pleadings are not applicable in such situations. These situations would typically require the assistance of an attorney who is a member of the bar in the state in which you live.(back to top)
Does your product/service provide me with all the required forms, information and filing instructions?
Our state-specific name change materials contain more than just the needed forms. Our staff reviews state statutes, laws, regulations, and requirements when developing our forms. Detailed instructions are included with each package. Within that text is always a recommendation that our customers contact their local court clerk to ensure that all necessary forms have been obtained. Our forms are state-specific (unless otherwise noted). We recognize however that local laws vary -- not just from state to state, but even from county to county. We make every effort to ensure that our legal forms are as comprehensive as possible -- County and Courthouse variation information however is not always readily available to our staff. Also, we cannot promise any of our customers perfection -- only our best efforts. Your local jurisdiction may require forms or papers that we have missed. More often than not, if something is missing from a form set, it is usually a single form or county cover sheet. These missing forms are usually available from the local court clerk.(back to top)
Our Document Preparation Service, requires that you complete an on-line Questionnaire. Your responses on the Questionnaire will then be used to prepare the documents. If our staff requires additional information, or if you fail to answer the required questions, our staff will contact you. The prepared forms, with further instructions, will be returned to you as an attachment to an e-mail within a few business days (assuming we do not need additional information from you).
This service cost $99.95 for an Adult or Minor name change. Our fee includes the preparation of the forms and delivery of the forms in a data format. Paper copies of the forms can be mailed to you (upon special request) for an additional charge. Other charges which may become necessary in the filing of any legal document with a court could include: filing fees, postage for certified mailings, fees associated with the signatures and seals of a Notary Public, publication fees and service of process charges. These fees and charges are the responsibility of the Petitioner, not our company.(back to top)
If I choose to purchase the Document Preparation Service, will I still have to contact all entities to amend documents, for example, passport, driver's license, etc. Or will those changes be submitted for me through this process for Document Preparation?
Once the forms have been delivered, you will have further steps to take. Our service does not include any notarization of forms. Likewise, we do not file your papers with any court or assist with other requirements, such as service or publication procedures. While we do provide a listing of agencies/places to contact after your action has been ordered or decreed (approved and finalized), we do not assist in these procedures. These steps will be your responsibility.(back to top)
If the paternal father's name isn't on my stepdaughter's birth certificate do we need to notify the paternal father of our petition?
Any parent or adult who retains parental or custodial rights over a minor has a right, based in statute, to be notified and must provide consent or waiver of consent to legal actions regarding the minor. The actual law will vary from state to state, but the general rule is that both parents must consent to a name change for a minor. Our materials are designed for uncontested legal actions only - actions where all interested parties can come to agreement.(back to top)
In the event that anyone files an objection to your request, your case will become a contested case and you are strongly urged to hire an attorney. If you do not retain an attorney you will have to represent yourself in a contested hearing.(back to top)
Most name change Petitions are granted, however, the law gives the Court the power to decline a person's request for a name change. Therefore, the Court can refuse a name change request if there is a reason to decline the request.
If a name change Petition was denied because there was not enough evidence to support the request, then you will have to wait until the circumstances that led to the denial change before you can file another Petition. This is because once the Court makes a decision about an incident or an event; it cannot address that same incident or event again. If the Petition was denied because of a procedural error (for example, you did not file the correct forms), then you should correct the error and request another time to ask the Judge to approve your name change.
Finally, whenever you lose in Court, you have the right to request the Court to reconsider its decision and you have the right to appeal the decision to a higher Court. Please note that in most cases you have 30 days or less from the date of the Judge's decision to exercise these rights or you may lose your right to reconsideration or appeal. You should seek the assistance of an attorney to exercise these rights.(back to top)