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Name Change Law and Procedures

Once my New York name change application is granted by the court, how do I inform the DMV of my new name?

You must visit a local dmv office to change your name on all New York DMV records and documents.

Bring your NYSDMV photo document or other proof of identity that displays your previous name and has a value of at least six points.

Bring a US marriage certificate, US divorce documents, or other court papers issued in the US that prove your new name. Or, you can bring proof of identity that displays your new name and has a value of at least six points.

To change your name on a registration document and a title certificate, you must bring the registration document and the title certificate that display your previous name.

Use form MV-44 (available at your local DMV office) to change your name on your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card. There is a fee of $15 to get a new photo driver license or learner permit document that displays your new name, or $8 to get a new non-driver photo ID card. Your new document arrives by mail in approximately four weeks.

Use form MV-82 (available at your local DMV office) to change your name on your registration documents and title certificate. There is no fee to change your name on your registration documents and title certificate. The DMV office gives you new registration documents that display your new name. A title certificate that displays your new name is mailed to you.


Pursuant to New York's Civil Rights Law (CRL), in considering an application to change the name of a minor, the court is required to determine whether the proposed name change will promote the child's best interests. That legal standard is set forth in Section 63 of the CRL, which provides, in relevant part:

If the court to which the petition is presented is satisfied thereby, or by the affidavit and certificate presented therewith, that the petition is true, and that there is no reasonable objection to the change of name proposed, and if the petition be to change the name of an infant, that the interests of the infant will be substantially promoted by the change, the court shall make an order authorizing the petitioner to assume the name proposed.

CRL, § 63.

Pursuant to Section 62 of the CRL, if only one of the natural parents is petitioning for the child's name change, he or she is required to provide notice to the other parent. However, under certain circumstances, the court is permitted to waive the notice requirement.

Frequently, a minor's name change petition is filed by the custodial parent (often, the mother). In such circumstances, both the child, and the custodial parent, express a desire to share the same last name. Thus, a petition is filed to change the child's legal surname to that of the mother, or to a hyphenated last name that incorporates both the mother's and the father's last names.

Most recently, in a decision that was entered in the case, Matter of Eberhardt, 6016/10 (which was reported by the New York Law Journal on April 7, 2011), New York's Appellate Division for the Second Department overruled a trial court's order, and granted a request by a mother (who had legal custody of the child) to change her nine-year-old daughter's last name to a hyphenated name reflecting the names of both parents - notwithstanding the objections of the child's father.

The Appellate Division's analysis in Matter of Eberhardt offers several, valuable insights regarding the circumstances, interests and concerns which motivate custodial parents to file name change applications for their children. Among other issues, the Appellate Division noted that a hyphenated last name would promote the minor child's interests by serving as a reminder and affirmation of the respective ethnic heritages of both the child's mother and father.

Clearly, one of the factors which led the court in Matter of Eberhardt to find that the name change served the interests of the child was the fact that the mother proposed a hyphenated last name, incorporating both parents' names, rather than eliminating the father's name:

[t]here is no basis on which the 'Anglo-American custom to give a child the father's name' could be argued to have any bearing on the child's best interests, the judge said. That is particularly the case where a petitioning mother, like Ms. Esquenazi, is seeking to add her last name and not to eliminate the father's.

Based on the court's analysis in Matter of Eberhardt, a custodial parent who anticipates opposition to a name change petition by the non-custodial parent may wish to propose a hyphenated last name for their child, rather than eliminating the noncustodial parent's name.

Marc A. Rapaport, Esq.
April 15, 2011, All Rights Are Reserved
No Duplication of this Article is Permitted


The laws and procedures relating to New York name change petitions are set forth in Article 6 of the Civil Rights Law. Some of the more important sections are set forth below:

§ 60 Civ. Rights. Petition for change of name.

A petition for leave to assume another name may be made by a resident of the state to the county court of the county or the supreme court in the county in which he resides, or, if he resides in the city of New York, either to the supreme court or to any branch of the civil court of the city of New York, in any county of the city of New York. The petition to change the name of an infant may be made by the infant through his next friend, or by either of his parents, or by his general guardian, or by the guardian of his person.

§ 61 Civ. Rights. Contents.

  1. The petition shall be in writing, signed by the petitioner and verified in like manner as a pleading in a court of record, and shall specify the grounds of the application, the name, date of birth, place of birth, age and residence of the individual whose name is proposed to be changed and the name which he or she proposes to assume. The petition shall also specify (a) whether or not the petitioner has been convicted of a crime or adjudicated a bankrupt; (b) whether or not there are any judgments or liens of record against the petitioner or actions or proceedings pending to which the petitioner is a party, and, if so, the petitioner shall give descriptive details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to; (c) whether or not the petitioner is responsible for child support obligations; (d) whether or not the petitioner's child support obligations have been satisfied and are up to date; (e) the amount of a child support arrearage that currently is outstanding along with the identity of the court which issued the support order and the county child support collections unit; (f) whether or not the petitioner is responsible for spousal support obligations; (g) whether or not the petitioner's spousal support obligations have been satisfied and are up to date; and (h) the amount of spousal support arrearage that currently is outstanding along with the identity of the court which issued the support order.

  2. If the petitioner stands convicted of a violent felony offense as defined in section 70.02 of the penal law or a felony defined in article one hundred twenty-five of such law or any of the following provisions of such law sections 130.25, 130.30, 130.40, 130.45, 255.25, 255.26, 255.27, article two hundred sixty-three, 135.10, 135.25, 230.05, 230.06, subdivision two of section 230.30 or 230.32, and is currently confined as an inmate in any correctional facility or currently under the supervision of the state division of parole or a county probation department as a result of such conviction, the petition shall for each such conviction specify such felony conviction, the date of such conviction or Convictions, and the court in which such conviction or convictions were entered.

  3. Upon all applications for change of name by persons born in the state of New York, there shall be annexed to such petition either a birth certificate or a certified transcript thereof or a certificate of the commissioner or local board of health that none is available.


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Notice Of Children's Name Change Waived

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