How To Change Your Child's Name
In NYC - Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan
It is not uncommon for parents to seek a name change for a child. Whether
it be due to divorce, religious reasons, preference, or any other reason,
you will likely have to follow the traditional
name change process, with a few additional steps described below. Before your file your petition,
it is important to understand who the law considers a "child",
who is legally permitted to petition the court to change the name of a
child, and the legal consequences of changing your child's name.
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What are the reasons for changing your childs name?
A child's name can be changed for nearly any reason as long as the
intent is not illegal, criminal, fraudulent or with the purpose of dodging
financial obligations. Common reasons that parents change children's
- Dislike of present name;
- To correct an error or spelling mistake entered on the child's birth
- To have the child's name reflect their stepfather's name due to
remarriage after divorce;
- To have the minor's name reflect their mother's maiden name after divorce;
Who is considered a child?
A minor child is someone that is younger then 18 years old.
Who can request a name change for children?
A name change for a child can be requested by the child's biological
or adoptive parent or a legal guardian. However, it is important to note
that a legal name change does not result in an adoption, and as such,
it does not make one's current spouse a defacto legal parent. If such
is the intention, it is best to consult with an attorney experienced in
Either parent may commence a petition to change the child's name, however,
the court will typically require
written consent from the other living biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian.
However, this step is unneccessary if the others parental rights have
What if I can't locate the child's other parent?
If you do not know where the other parent resides, you must take affirmative
steps to locate them. If after careful diligence you are unable to locate
the other parent, the judge may request an explanation as to the steps
that you've taken and the reasoning as to why the parent cannot be located.
However, if you know the address of the other parent, you will need to
provide them with notice and an opportunity to object to the court (if
they desire to object). A
notice to non-petitioned parent will need to be issued to the non-filing parent.
Lastly, if the non-petitioning parent is a minor (age 17 or less), then
written consent must be obtained from
their parent or legal guardian.
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Is a child required to consent to a name change?
Maybe. Some court's will require children that are 14-years old or
older to agree to a name change by signing a
Minor Consent Form in the pressence of a notary public. The completed form must be included
when filing the petition.
Court Hearing for Changing a Minor's Name
As an essential part of the hearing, the judge will determine whether a
name change is in the child's best interest. The judge will take into
account the child's:
- personal preference,
- length of time the name was in use,
- the potential effect on the child's relationship with each parent,
- any embarrassment caused to the child by the prior name, or by the future
use of the new name.
Additionally, the court will inquire about the motives of the parents in
seeking to change the child's name.
Obtaining a name change for a minor child in New York City is not necessarily
easy. Call our skilled legal team to learn how we can help you petition
the court to change your child's name. Hiring an experienced attorney
can help simplify the process and avoid unecessary delays that could result
from incomplete petitions and improperly completed paperwork.
Need Help? Contact the Law Office of Simon Goldenberg PLLC at