New York Name Change Forms – How to Change Your Name in NY

Updated January 23, 2023

A New York name change form can be used by residents to legally change their name to a new one or to restore one used previously. When getting married or divorced, individuals can use their marriage certificate or divorce decree to change their last name as long as they include the change in their original marriage license application or divorce complaint. For any other kind of name change, residents must file a notarized petition with their local courthouse and, in some cases, attend a court hearing where a decision regarding their request will be reached. Following the approval of a name change petition, the subject must obtain certified copies of the court order in order to change the identity on their passport, social security card, bank account, driver’s license, etc.

Laws – §61 – 65

Table of Contents

Name Change After Marriage

The law permits people to change their last name when getting married. In order to do this, the name change must be written on the couple’s marriage license application. The new name may be either the spouse’s last name, a combination of both names or elements of both names, or a hyphenated version of the couple’s two last names. Any prior last name of either spouse may also be adopted. After getting officially married, the couple will receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration which certifies their marriage and demonstrates their change of name. Using certified copies of this document, individuals can change the identity on their driver’s license, passport, social security card, and other accounts or registrations.

Name Change After Divorce

In New York, residents who are getting divorced can restore any name that they used prior to their marriage. During divorce proceedings, the subject must request that the court approve their name change and include the change in the divorce decree. If the name change isn’t accounted for in the divorce decree, a resident may still be able to include it. Some counties will allow amendments to legal documents, in which case the subject may request the court to add the name change to their decree. Once a divorce has been finalized, a divorce decree indicating a person’s name change may be presented as proof of name change when updating their identification with government and private institutions.

Adult Name Change (No Marriage or Divorce)

Name changes in New York are approved through a process which begins with filing a petition with your County or Supreme Court. Once a name change has been approved, the petitioner will receive a signed court order that authorizes the change. In order to change your name in New York, you must be at least eighteen (18) years old and not be incarcerated or on parole/probation. You must be a resident of the county in which the petition is being filed, and you must have been a resident of New York for a minimum of six (6) months. Furthermore, you cannot file a standard petition to change your name if you need to keep your identity private for reasons of personal safety. If you want to change your name because your safety is threatened, seek assistance from a lawyer or domestic violence counselor.

Step 1 – Petition for Individual Adult Name Change

Download and complete the Petition for Individual Adult Name Change, leaving the signature field and last page blank (you also do not need to provide the index number or the name of the judge). The name of the judge and the index number will be provided by the Court Clerk and the verification page will be filled out by a notary public.

Step 2 – Order Granting Leave to Change Name

Next, fill out the first page of the Order Granting Leave to Change Name. This document will be completed upon approval of your petition and submitted to a newspaper for publication.

Step 3 – Notarize Petition

Once you have filled out the petition, you will need to take it to a notary public to have it notarized. You can have documents notarized at most bank branches for a small fee. Present yourself before the notary with your document and a piece of photo ID, and sign the petition in front of them. The notary will then provide their verification on the last page of your petition.

Step 4 – Gather Documents

You will need the following documents and payment in order to file your petition:

  • Notarized Petition for Individual Adult Name Change
  • Order Granting Leave to Change Name
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Filing fee ($210 for Supreme/County Court, $65 for New York City Civil Court)

Call your courthouse ahead of time to verify what payment methods they accept and to whom checks/money orders should be made payable.

Step 5 – File Petition at County or Supreme Court

Once you have filled out both documents and notarized the petition, you will need to bring your package to your County or Supreme Court (click here to find your court by using the “Court Locator” sidebar found on the linked webpage) and file it with the Court Clerk. Residents of New York City can file their name change petitions with the New York City Civil Court, which is less expensive. Accepted payment methods and filing fees may differ depending on your county of residence, so it is your responsibility to be prepared to pay your filing fee. If you are incapable of paying the fee, you can ask the court for a fee waiver in order to subsidize some or all of your costs.

Step 6 – Obtain Photocopy of Court Order/Attend Possible Hearing

After reviewing your petition, the Clerk will submit it to a Judge. If a hearing is called, you will need to attend it on the scheduled date with your name change documents in hand. The Judge is allowed to inform government agencies of your name change, such as Immigration Services or Criminal Justice Services, or to contact any previous spouses. If the Judge approves your name change, they will sign your Order Granting Leave to Change Name and the Clerk’s Office will send you a copy of the signed document. Depending on your court, you will either receive a certified copy of your court order at this point or you will be given a photocopy which must be published.

Step 7 – Publish Name Change

If publication of your name change is required, you must send your court order to a local newspaper to be published within sixty (60) days of the court order being issued. Usually, the court will tell you which newspaper to publish your name change in. Send the photocopy of your signed court order to your county newspaper and pay the publication fee. Once publication has occurred, file a copy of your published name change with the Court Clerk in order to obtain a certified copy. Proof of publication must be filed within ninety (90) days from the date that your court order was issued.

Step 8 – Obtain Certified Copy of Court Order

Having filed your proof of publication, you will be able to pick up certified copies of your Order Granting Leave to Change Name. These documents may then be used to change the name on your passport, driver’s license, and other official registrations.

Driver’s License

To update a New York driver’s license after changing your name, you will need to go to a DMV office with the following items:

Once you have presented your documents and paid the fee (most payment methods are accepted), you will be required to have a photo taken of you to be used on your new license. The DMV will mail you your updated driver’s license within ten (10) days.

Voter Registration

New York residents must notify their county board of elections of a name change at least twenty (20) days before the next election in order to be able to vote. To change their registration identity, individuals can go through the ordinary registration procedure, using their new name and indicating their name change. First, they must fill out the New York Voter Registration Form, indicating their previous name in section twelve (12) beside where it says “Your name was…” Once the form has been completed, it must be submitted either by mail or in person to the subject’s board of elections office. Alternatively, residents can also change their voter registration at the DMV when they update their driver’s license/ID.

Minor (Child) Name Change

In New York, a minor is defined as anyone who is under (18) years of age. A minor’s name may be changed by petition to the County or Supreme Court by their biological or adoptive parents, “next friend,” or legal guardian. The court will consider whether the name change is in the child’s best interests, and they’ll ensure that the change isn’t being made for fraudulent or deceptive purposes. Both the petitioner and the minor must be residents of New York for at least six (6) months, and they must file the petition in the county where they reside.

Step 1 – Petition for Individual Minor’s Change of Name

The Petition for Individual Minor’s Change of Name must be filled out by a legal parent/guardian or “next friend” of the minor in question.

Step 2 – Consent to Minor’s Change of Name

If the child has another living, non-custodial biological parent, that parent must be given notice of the name change. To obtain their written consent, you will need to get them to fill out and sign the Consent to Minor’s Change of Name Form, which must be notarized. Furthermore, if the child is fourteen (14) years of age or older, they may need to complete this form as well (this is only a requirement in certain counties). If the other parent doesn’t give their consent, you will need to serve them a Notice to the Non-Petitioning Parent form and fill out an Affidavit of Service. Both of these forms can be obtained at your local courthouse.

Step 3 – Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name

The Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name is the document which will authorize the name change of the minor if your petition is approved. Fill out the form up until item two (2) and do not fill in the index number; these will be filled out by the Clerk of the Court and (if your petition is approved) the Judge.

Step 4 – Gather Documents 

You will need the following items in order to request the court to change your child’s name:

  • Notarized Petition for Individual Minor’s Name Change
  • Consent to Minor’s Change of Name (if applicable)
  • Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Filing fee ($210 for Supreme/County Court, $65 for New York City Civil Court)

Step 5 – File Petition at County or Supreme Court

After completing all of the required paperwork, bring your documents to the Clerk of Court’s office at your County or Supreme Court (or Civil Court if you live in New York City) to file your petition and pay the required fee.

Step 6 – Obtain Photocopy of Court Order/Attend Possible Hearing

Your petition will either be approved without a hearing or you will be informed if they set a hearing for your child’s name change. If the name change is approved without a hearing, you will be sent a photocopy of your Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name, completed and signed by a Judge. In the event that a hearing date is set, you will need to attend the hearing on time and with copies of all the required name change documents. The Judge will call on you to explain your request, and after considering any objections and reasons to deny the name change, they will reach a decision. If the Judge approves the petition, they will sign the Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name.

Step 7 – Publish Name Change

If you are required to publish your child’s name change, you will be given a photocopy of the signed Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name to submit for publication in a local newspaper. The court will either assign you a newspaper, or you will need to select a newspaper with distribution in your county. The newspaper will give you an invoice for the service, and publication must occur within sixty (60) days from the date that your child’s name was approved. Once the order has been published, obtain a copy and file it with the court as your proof of publication within ninety (90) days of the name change approval date. As soon as you have filed your proof of publication, you can obtain certified copies of your signed court order.

Step 8 – Obtain Certified Copy of Court Order

In order to complete the name change process, you will need to pick up at least (2) certified copies of the signed Order Granting Leave to Change Child’s Name from the Clerk of Court’s office. Once the court has approved your child’s name change, it will be up to you to change their name as recorded on any official documents and registrations. By presenting a certified copy of the court order, you will be able to change your child’s identity, so that they can use their own name.