Have you hated your name forever? Did your mom or dad start calling you a different name than your birth name, and that is how you see yourself today?

Does your name just not identify who you are, but you don't or can't get a driver's license or even a Passport because of it? So, change it.

How can you change your name legally in New York State?

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash
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To oversimplify it, you need to fill out some paperwork, pay some filing fees/court fees, and then go before a judge. Is there more to it than that? You could also save yourself some time and stress and just pay a lawyer to do it for you. However, if you are cheap like me, you can do it without a lawyer.

What is the first step to legally change your name in New York State?

Vladimir Cetinski
Vladimir Cetinski
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If you just want to change your name, you can start by filling out and filing the paperwork. Here is the form, pdf. Keep in mind, this is the form you use if you want to change your name, not a name change because of marriage or divorce.

After the first form, what do you do next to change your name legally in New York State?

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You will need to then print out an "Order Granting Leave to Change Name" form, pdf. This form will need you to put the name that you want to be known by or known as. Make sure to get the forms notarized. Ask your bank if they have a free or low-cost notary for you to use, and get the forms notarized.

What documents do you need to bring with you to show the court for your name change?

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You should be able to show any of the documents showing the name that you were born to, and then how you have been known since you started using your name. Take the notarized forms, plus your source documents to the courthouse, pay the fines, and give them to the clerk.

So it is in the court clerk's hands, what happens next?

Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash
Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash
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The clerk hands it all off to the judge, you may be called to a court date where you will plead your case in front of the judge. The judge may ask you to publish the name change in a local paper. If you are granted the name change, you will then need to go about changing your name at the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as on things like your bank accounts and your passport.  If all of this sounds too involved, contact a lawyer, they should also be able to help you out.

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