If you live in New York City, you may start a name change proceeding in any county in the city. Try the Civil Court's free and easy interactive computer program to make an Adult Name Change Petition.
If you do not live in New York City, you need to file a New York Name Change Petition, Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI), Index Number Request, and New York Name Change Order with the clerk of the Supreme Court for the county where you live. Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process will help you create your New York Name Change Petition and Order. When you fill out the form, you are the petitioner and the clerk of court will tell you your court number and assign you a case number when you file the Petition and Order at the court house.
To complete the RJI: fill in the top two blanks with “Supreme Court” and your residence county. You are the Plaintiff. Write in your name under “Plaintiff.” There is no defendant; you may write none or leave it blank. The “Nature of Judicial Intervention” will be other: (specify: Legal Name Change Hearing). For “Nature of Action or Proceeding,” check other: and write in Legal Name Change. Check all boxes “no” for the next section. Your “Time Frame” should be checked 0-8 months. Leave the next section blank. Under “Attorneys for Plaintiff,” put an X next to “self rep” and fill in your name, address and phone number. Leave the “Defendants” and “Insurance Carriers” section blank. Write none for “Related Cases.” Sign and date the bottom. If you have questions regarding the RJI, the Clerk of Court should be able to answer them at the time of filing.
Once you have all documents filled out, go to your local county courthouse with your documents, and at least one copy of each, and file them with the Clerk of Court in the county where you reside. You should fill in your case number on the Petition, RJI, and Order and have the Clerk review the documents to ensure they are complete. Request a stamped copy from the Clerk. There will be a fee to file the paperwork. If you cannot afford the fee, the Clerk can provide you with an application to file for free.
For New York City and the rest of the state, the judge will review your request and mail you the signed Order or a Notice rejecting your request. If your request is granted and you receive a signed Order, you will need to file the signed Order with the clerk’s office as you did with the Petition. You can request certified copies of the signed Order for a small fee. You cannot use the Order until you have filed it with the Clerk and received a certified copy showing that it has been filed.
After you receive a certified copy of the New York Name Change Order, you will need to publish your new name in the notices section of a local newspaper, in the county of the Order, within 20 days. A letter to the newspaper will be generated when you complete the easy interview process for the New York Legal Name Change. Deliver the letter to the newspaper in person or call to find out the fee you need to include with your letter.
After the Notice has been published, you will need to return to the clerk’s office and fill out an Affidavit of Publication. Once the Affidavit has been filed, your name change will be final. However, it is your responsibility to change your name with the government agencies like the Social Security Office and the Department of Motor vehicles. For the Social Security Office, you will need:
- Social Security form SS-5 (which you can fill out in advance or in the Social Security Office)
- A Certified Copy of your New York Order Granting Name Change
- Proof of identity (like your current driver’s license or passport)
- Proof of age (like your birth certificate)
Note: If you don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, you can use the Birth Certificate Request Letter. It takes only minutes to complete on Rocket Lawyer.
The staff will verify your personal documents and give you a certificate showing that the Social Security Office has approved your name change. Alternatively, you can mail the above documents to your local Social Security Office and you will receive your new social security card by mail, along with your original documents.
Your Certified Order can also be used at the Department of Motor Vehicles to change your name on your driver’s license while you wait for your new social security card. You have to do this step in person at your nearest New York Driver’s License office. Your new license and Social Security card should be mailed to you within six weeks. These new forms of identification and your Certified Order or Certificate of Name Change may be used to change any other forms of legal identification, like your passport.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.