If you live in New York City, file for your legal name change in any county in the city. Civil court legal name change filing fees are $65. You can find the necessary forms online, or else go to the name change location in the court to access the documents.
If you live elsewhere within New York State you must file your petition with your county Supreme Court. Filing fees are $210, payable to the local county clerk. If you cannot afford the fee ask for an Affidavit in Support of Application to Proceed as a Poor Person so you can file for free. While fees are correct at the time of writing, they are subject to change without notice.
Complete the necessary forms and bring them to the court house. In New York state this is name change petition and name change order. In New York City you should also bring your original birth certificate or certified copy.
A married couple (either with or without children) may file a family name change, which requires a different form. Name change requests are public records. Ask the clerk how to file a sealed record if there is a reason to keep your name change confidential. If you are married you may also be required to notify your spouse of the change. Name changes are restricted for some criminal backgrounds. Check with the court for more information.
Adult name change forms are available online. You may complete the interactive online form that assists in correctly completing the petition. Do not use this form if you want your name change kept confidential. You may instead use a paper form. You should read the general instructions to change a name before beginning.
Once your petition is complete, return to the court house to file with the Clerk and pay the filing fee at that time. The clerk can’t assist in preparing your documents and it is always recommended you seek legal advice before filing your petition. Once your filing fee has been paid you will receive a date for your hearing.
New York City applicants are required to attend the hearing. Applicants elsewhere in New York state do not need to attend the hearing. Name changes are mostly approved on the spot. Once you have approval, the clerk will issue you with a photocopy of the name change order. You need this to publish your name change in a newspaper.
Once your petition is accepted, you must arrange for your name change to be published in a newspaper that circulates within your county of residence within 60 days. This is at the expense of the petitioner. You should keep this record and return to the court with proof of the publishing and you can then receive the court order granting the change. There are additional fees to order certified copies of your name change order, which is necessary to get your identification and records updated.
Your name is considered legally changed once you have a certified copy of the court order approving your name change. There is no automatic updating of identification and records though. To save hours contacting each agency and company directly to learn the process, we recommend using an Easy Name Change kit.
We will provide you with all the necessary paperwork to change names with organizations where your name change can be done in writing. For all other places we provide detailed instructions on what you should do.