New York Name Change Requirements

General Summary of Name Change Laws

To file for a name change in New York, the individual seeking a name change must have lived in New York for at least six (6) months and be a current resident in the county in which the petition will be filed.

The Courts are often willing to accept name changes for almost any legitimate reason. However, the granting of an application for change of name is discretionary with the Court. For an order/decree/judgment of name change to be granted, the Court must find compliance with the requirements of notice and the requirements for the allegations in the application. The Court must also find good and sufficient reason for the change, find the change consistent with the public interest and if the change of name is for a minor child, find that the change is in the best interests of the minor child.

You cannot change your/one's name for a fraudulent purpose, such as to avoid debts, you cannot change to a name that could affect the rights of another person, such as a celebrity, you cannot use a curse word, racial slur, obscene and/or an offensive word as part of your/one's name and you cannot change to a name that would cause deliberate confusion (for example, a name with punctuation and/or a number in it).

IMPORTANT NOTE: For name change actions, which involve a minor, our materials are strictly for use if both parents consent to the name change. If one parent does not consent, our materials are not appropriate. The applicant may wish to contact a local lawyer, bar association, etc.

Again, please remember, our name change materials are designed to cover simple, uncontested name changes ONLY.

General Summary of Name Change Laws in New York for an Adult

NOTE: If you live in the city of New York, you have the option of filing in Supreme Court or Civil Court. If you live outside the city of New York, you must file in Supreme Court.

Name changes are governed by Article 6 Change of Name of the New York State Consolidated Laws: Civil Rights. In New York, the process for obtaining a name change for an adult begins with the filing of a Petition for a Name Change which sets forth the reasons for the change.

Along with your Petition, you must provide proof of the date and place of your birth. This is typically done by supplying a copy of your birth certificate. If you were born in the State of New York, special instructions apply for supplying proof of your date and place of birth:

  • If you were born in the State of New York, you must attach a certified copy of a birth certificate. Certified copies typically have a government agency seal, which is raised - or bumpy to the touch - on the document. If a certified copy cannot be obtained, you must bring a Certificate from the Commissioner or the local Board of Health that a certified copy is not available.
  • If you were born in the City of New York, you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate from the Office of Vital Records, Department of Public Health. If you were not born in the City of New York, but you were born in the state, you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate from your local City Hall or the New York State Department of Health.
  • Fees may be involved in obtaining certified copies of birth certificates and may take two (2) to ten (10) weeks to receive.

After filing initial documents, the Petitioner shall appear before the Court at a hearing. The Court will hear any objections to the Petition offered by third parties and review the Petition. If everything is in order and the Court agrees to the intent and nature of the Petition, the Court will sign a Name Change Order. For an Order to be granted, the Court must find sufficient reasons for the change and also find it consistent with the public interest. If the Court approves the Petition, the name change must be published in a newspaper according to the format prescribed by New York law.

If the Court approves the Petition, the name change must be published in a newspaper according to the format prescribed by New York law. After publication, obtain a proof of publication (Affidavit of Publication) and file it with the County Clerk or Court Clerk (depending upon where you file) within ninety (90) days of the issuance of the Order.

Overview of the Required Steps for an Adult Applicant in the State of New York

Here are the basic steps involved in changing your name:

  1. Complete the interactive questionnaire which will compile the information needed for your name change documents.
  2. Print all of the documents.
  3. All necessary signatures must be witnessed and notarized by a Notary Public. (PLEASE NOTE: The Petition has two places for a signature which must be witnessed and notarized by a Notary Public. The main Petition must be signed and the Petition also contains a "Verification" which is a statement that all the information provided in the Petition is true.)
  4. If filing in Supreme Court, file the necessary documents with your County Clerk, depending upon where you reside. If you will be filing in Civil Court, file the necessary documents with the Court Clerk in the Civil Court within New York City where you have chosen to file your name change documents. (New York City residents must select a Civil Court in New York City, however, they do not need to be residents of the county/borough of the selected Court.)
  5. Pay the filing fee (If filing in Supreme Court, thus purchasing an Index Number, as detailed in our materials).
  6. Appear in person before the Court as directed (most cases involve a hearing).
  7. Upon approval of the Petition, the Judge will sign a Name Change Order. Within sixty (60) days of approval, make arrangements to publish in your local newspaper a notice of your proposed name change (required by most local jurisdictions).
  8. After publication, obtain a proof of publication (Affidavit of Publication) and file it with the County Clerk or Court Clerk (depending upon where you file) within ninety (90) days of the issuance of the Order.

General Summary of Name Change Laws in New York for a Minor

Name changes are governed by Article 6 of the Civil Rights Law of the State of New York. In New York, the process for obtaining a name change for a minor begins with the filing of a Petition for a Name Change which sets forth the reasons for the change, by one biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian of the minor with the other parent/guardian (if applicable) providing consent. A Name Change Order (included with your documents) may also be required at the initial filing. The Court Clerk or County Clerk, depending upon where you file, will be able to tell you if this is needed.

Along with the initial filing, you must provide proof of the minor's date and place of birth. This is typically done by supplying a copy of the minor's birth certificate. If the minor was born in the State of New York, special instructions apply for supplying proof of date and place of birth:

  • If the minor was born in the State of New York, you must attach a certified copy of a birth certificate. Certified copies typically have a government agency seal, which is raised - or bumpy to the touch - on the document. If a certified copy cannot be obtained, you must attach a Certificate from the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health or the local Board of Health stating that a certified copy is not available.
  • If the minor was born in the City of New York, you can get a certified copy of the birth certificate from the Office of Vital Records, Department of Public Health. If the child was not born in the City of New York, but elsewhere in the state, you can get a certified copy of the birth certificate from your local City Hall or the New York State Department of Health.
  • If the minor was born in another state, obtain a copy of the child's birth certificate from that state's Office of Vital Records. The agency typically has a website to request a copy or you can find the physical location usually in the capital city.
  • Fees may be involved in obtaining certified copies of birth certificates and may take two (2) to ten (10) weeks to receive.

Thereafter, any adult who has a legal right to notification of the Petition (such as a biological or adoptive parent, legal guardian, etc.) shall be given proper direct notice by the Petitioner (often referred to as Service of Process) and all such adults must provide consent to the minor's name change. If any non-petitioning adult does not agree to the Petition, these instructions are no longer applicable, and you should seek legal counsel.

After these requirements have been met, one of two actions may happen. 1) A judge will review the Petition and mail you the signed Name Change Order, thereby skipping the need for a hearing; or 2) you and possibly your minor child will need to appear for a hearing, the Court will hear the case and any objections to the Petition, and then the Court will sign a Name Change Order. (As noted above, your documents will include a Name Change Order, which may be needed or the Court may supply its own form.)

Upon approval, you will receive a Name Change Order signed by a judge. This needs to be filed with the Court Clerk as with the Petition. You cannot use the Name Change Order as proof of approval of the name change until it has been filed. Additionally, you typically need certified copies of the Order from the Clerk, which you can obtain for a small fee per copy.

If the Court approves the Petition, the name change must be published in a newspaper according to the format prescribed by New York law. After publication, obtain a proof of publication (Affidavit of Publication) and file it with the Court Clerk within ninety (90) days of the issuance of the Order.

Overview of the Required Steps for Changing a Minor's Name in New York

Here are the basic steps involved in changing the name of a minor:

  1. Complete the interactive questionnaire which will compile the information needed for the name change documents.
  2. Carefully review the documents for accuracy, and then print all of the documents.
  3. All necessary signatures must be witnessed and notarized by a Notary Public. PLEASE NOTE: The Petition has two places for a signature which must be witnessed and notarized by a Notary Public. The main Petition must be signed and the Petition also contains a "Verification" which is a statement that all the information provided in the Petition is true.
  4. File the necessary documents with the Court Clerk or County Clerk (depending upon if you are filing in Civil or Supreme Court) where you have chosen to file the name change documents.
  5. Pay the filing fee. (Thus purchasing an Index Number, if you are filing in Supreme Court, as detailed within our materials).
  6. Notify parties who have a legal right to direct notification (service of process).
  7. A judge will review the Petition and mail you a signed Name Change Order; or you and possibly the minor child may be required to appear before the Court at a hearing. Procedure varies by county and Court.
  8. Upon approval of the Petition, the Judge will sign a Name Change Order. Within sixty (60) days of approval, make arrangements to publish in your local newspaper a notice of the minor's proposed name change (required by most local jurisdictions). The Name Change Order may provide the details required for the Publication Notice. If not, a sample Publication Notice is also included in your documents.
  9. After publication, obtain a proof of publication (Affidavit of Publication) and file it with the Court Clerk within ninety (90) days of the issuance of the Order. An Affidavit of Publication is included in your documents, however, some newspapers may prepare their own.

Name Change Forms

Self-Prepared

Adult Name Change $29.95
Minor Name Change $29.95

Paralegal-Prepared

Adult Name Change $99.95
Minor Name Change $119.95

Try before you buy

Special: Now through August 31st take 15% off Legal Technician-prepared documents! Use promotional code summer

Epubliceye Safe Shopper Site BBB Reliability Program eCommerce by Chase Paymentech SSL Security by GeoTrust

What Our Customers Say