Name Change Basics
Many people that are trying to change their names in New York City will need some help with the process. Most name changes will require a filing with the New York County, Supreme or New York City Civil Courts. The process starts by completing a Name Change Petition and Proposed Order. The following must be included when filing:
- The reason for the name change.
- Any prior crime convictions against; you must include information about the crime committed and any time served. A Certificate of Incarceration or Certificate of Disposition may also be needed.
- A copy of any bankruptcy judgements filed.
- Any judgements or liens against you must be disclosed along with the date of the final judgement, who it was made to and the total amount.
- The court are to be aware of any lawsuits you are currently involved with or have been involved with in the past
- If you pay child support, a copy of the support is needed
Do name change petitions get denied?
The judge presiding over a petition holds the right to approve or deny a request for name change. For example, a judge may deny the application if they suspect fraud, attempting to run from the law, or they feel you are trying to avoid paying for debts owed. A request can also be denied if the name change is deemed as ridiculous, offensive, an unreasonable length or simply bizarre.
Filing the Petition
The Name Change Petition and Proposed Order must be fully completed then signed in the presence of a Notary Public. Courts will also ask for proof of birth most commonly in the form of a certified copy of your birth certificate. In the case of filing for a name change with the State of New York Supreme Court, you also need to file a Request for Judicial Intervention. Your case is then randomly assigned to a judge who will evaluate and make a final ruling on your petition.
If you are approved for a name change, the court requires you to publish the change with an approved newspaper many times within 20 days of the ruling. The judge may also rule for you to inform certain parties of your new name. Many times these include a wife, husband, ex-wife, ex-husband, Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, Selective Service System, and/or the N.Y.S. Criminal Justice Services. After your name change has been properly publicized and outside parties have been notified, a final Affidavit of Publication will need to be filed. Once this has occurred, your name change will become legal.
What happens next?
Upon approval of your name change petition, you will need to provide the official court ruling to proper authorities in order to receive new legal documents. This includes your Social Security Card, passport and driver’s license.
An experienced lawyer can make the name change process less daunting and may increase the likelihood of a successful petition due to the avoidance of common mistakes and pitfalls.