How To Change Name

Christopher Tompkins - Attorney At Law
225 Broadway, Suite 2020
New York, NY 10007
212 962-5363

How to Prepare a Legal Name Change Application in New York City

a. Generally  

Generally speaking, in practice, to legally change your name in any of the five boroughs of New York City, you need a petition for name change, a proposed order, a birth certificate, photo identification, and proof of your address. If you are married, you will also need a consent affidavit from your spouse and a copy of your marriage certificate (marriage registration). If you are a minor, a parent must petition on your behalf and the non-petitioning parent must provide a consent affidavit.

Many times, however, more exhibits are needed to, for example, show the history of the use an alias name, a criminal record and criminal disposition, or to demonstrate that child support payments are up to date. There will be more information on alias names, criminal records, and child support obligations later on this page.

When the name change order is signed by the judge it is conditional until a notice within the order has been published in a newspaper that the judge will designate. The order does not become a permanent order until proof of publication of a notice of the name change is filed. Proof of publication is the form of an affidavit that is prepared by the newspaper employee that published the name change notice that is contained in the order.

Once you have filed proof of publication, you may obtain certified copies of the order for $6.00. You can take the certified copy of the order to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office, Social Security Office, and/or Passport office to provide proof of your name change. 

b. The Name Change Petition 

The name change petition must include your name, your proposed new name, your age, your date of birth, your place of birth, and your address. If you were born in the United States, you must attach your birth certificate as an exhibit and identify the name change petition by the government agency that keeps the record and by its certificate ( or registration) number. You must state whether you are married, divorced, or single. You must also state whether you were convicted of a crime, whether you were adjudicated a bankrupt, whether you had liens or judgements against you, and/or whether you are a party to a pending lawsuit. Furthermore, you must state whether you have any minor children, and whether you have child support obligations. If you do have child support obligations, you must state whether child supportobligation are satisfied and up to date. If child support obligations are not satisfied and not up to date, you must state which court issued the child support order and which child support collections unit is involved.

The name change petition has to be signed by the person seeking the name change andverified by the person seeking the name change. The verification clause must be signed before a notary public. 

c. The Name Change Order 

In the City of New York, in all counties except New York county
( Manhattan), the proposed name change order is submitted to the Civil Court with the name change petition. In New York county ( Manhattan), the clerk of the court prepares the proposed name change order.

d.   Birth Records and Substitutes for Individuals Born Outside United States.  

If you were born in New York State, the law requires that you provide an original certified record of birth with a raised seal.

If you were born in New York City, you can obtain a certified record of birth from the New York City Department of Health in person at 125 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013. For information on obtaining a certified birth record in person, visit You can also order the birth record online by visiting or call 212 788-4520 to obtain information on how to get a certified birth record.

If you were born outside of New York City in Upstate New York, go to

Only people born in the City and State of New York are required to provide an original certified record of birth from the City or State Department of Health.

If you were born outside of both the City and State of New York, it is enough to provide a copy of a certified birth record from a sister state. If you were born outside of the United States in a foreign country, you may provide a copy of your birth record as well. You may also substitute a U.S. Citizen naturalization certificate or a U.S. passport for your birth certificate if it is not available for logistical problems.

However, if you were born in a country where official records are in a foreign language, a certified translation of the birth record in English by someone who is fluent in English and theforeign language is required. Normally, a notarized affidavit by the translator attesting to his or her fluency and to the fact that the translation is a fair and accurate translation, is all that is required. The translator affidavit ( certification must be notarized) 

e.   Use Photocopies of Documents as Exhibits and Authenticity of Copies.

Only people born outside of New York State may provide a copy of their birth certificate to prove their current legal name and it is attached as an exhibit to the petition. Other documents used for photo identification and those used to prove your address are also attached as exhibits to the petition for name change.

If an attorney prepares the name change petition for you, the attorney must affirm that he compared the originals of these documents to the copies and that the copies are true and accurate reproductions. Otherwise, you must show the originals and copies to a court clerk who will compare and inspect the originals with the copies before accepting the copies asexhibits to your name change petition.

f.   Photo Identification 

Photo identification may be in the form of a New York State driver license or, out of state license if you recently moved from another state, a New York State non-driver identification, a U.S. passport or passport of any other country, green card ( if you are a non-citizen, legal permanent resident), USCIS work authorization card, college photo identification, and/or employer photo identification card.

g. Proof of Address 

Proof of your address is usually in the form of a utility bill such as an electric, gas, cable, or phone bill. You may also use your New York State driver license or non-driver identification toprove your address if it is current. Its preferable to have more than one item of proof of mailing address. A civil court may also accept other types of proof of address such as bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and school records. If you use records such as these to prove your address, should redact private information such as social security numbers and financial resources which are not necessary as evidence to support your name change application.

h. Prior Criminal Convictions  

If you had criminal convictions in the past, you can still obtain a name change. However, you will also need to submit an original certificate of disposition or other proof that the matter was dispensed with such as a rap sheet. Its all also a good idea to provide proof that any jail time was served (prison release letters) and/or proof that any parole time was completed ( ie letter from parole administration). Judge’s want to see proof that you paid your debt to society and are rehabilitated before granting a name change. 

i. Alias Cases and Cases involving Married and Divorced Women 

In those cases, where a person has been using another name ( an alias or a married name) that is different from the name that they were born with, many times that person does not have photo identification for the birth name. In that case, you may establish who you are with photo identification of the alias name or the married name as the case may be. Provide copies of driver licenses, college identification, and employer identification with the alias or married name. It also helpful to provide other records that use the alias or married name such as baptismal certificates, pay stubs, tax returns, social security cards, diplomas, certificates, school records, marriage registration, and divorce decrees as examples. Copies of these items are attached as exhibits to the name change petition. Be sure to redact ( block or remove) social security numbers. 

j. Child and Spouse Support Cases

If you have a child support and/or spouse support obligation, you must indicate that on the name change petition. Normally, a judge will not grant a name change where child support or spouse support arrears remain outstanding. Therefore, it is essential that you provide proof that child/spouse support is up to date, particularly, where the support collections unit is involved. Statements of account provided by the support collections unit are sufficient to demonstrate that no arrears are owed for child support ( or spouse support). A copy of the statement of account from the Support Collections Unit can be used as an exhibit. If the support collections unit is not involved, you can obtain an affidavit from a spouse or divorced spouse stating that there is no child support or spouse support arrears owed as proof. If you use an affidavit, an original affidavit that is signed and notarized must be submitted as an exhibit. A copy of an affidavit is not admissible. 

k. Consent Affidavit of Married Spouse

An adult who is married and seeking a name change must also obtain an affidavit by his or her spouse consenting to the name change. This is to ensure that the spouse is on notice of the name change for possible support obligations as well as other legal situations which may require the spouse’s knowledge of the name changeThe consent affidavit must state the name and address of the consenting spouse and state specifically that he or she has read the name change petition and consents to the petitioning spouse’s name change. The consentaffidavit must be signed before a notary public. 

l.  Consent Affidavits of Parents of Minor Name Change Applicant

In cases, where a minor is seeking a name change ( legally the parents are seeking a name change on the infant child’s behalf), one parent petitions on behalf of the child and the other non-petitioning parent provides a consent affidavit.

In those cases, where a non-petitioning parent is absent, missing, or otherwise not actively engaged in life of the minor, a court will still not grant a name change without a consent affidavit except if the non-petitioning parent’s parental rights have been terminated by adoption, or by order in a termination proceeding in family court. In cases where the non-petitioning parent will not give consent, notice of the petition will have to be served on the non-petitioning parent and the court will schedule a hearing or trial to determine the best interests of the child with respect to the proposed name change. In such, case each parent should have the opportunity to present evidence for or against the approval of the minor’s legal name change.

Practically speaking, if the minor is close to 18 years old, the minor should wait to his or her eighteenth(18) birthday to petition for a name change as an adult. That way, consent of a parent is not required. It will save time and money for all parties involved. 

k. Filing the Name Change Application in New York City Civil Court Locations and Fee

When you have prepared the name change petition, the order and exhibits as explained above, you should your name change application in the Civil Court of the borough that you live in. The addresses of the Civil Court of each borough in New York City is as follows: Manhattan: 111 Centre Street, Bronx: 851 Grand Concourse, Brooklyn: 141 Livingston Street, Queens: 89-17 Sutphin Blvd., Staten Island: 927 Castelton. The filing fee is $65. 

Christopher Tompkins -  Attorney At Law 
225 Broadway, Suite 2020
New York, NY 10007 
212 962-5363


New York Legal Name Change  Lawyer
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