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Changing your name in NYC

Cinthya Urasaki

I recently got married (yay!) and decided to take my husband’s last name. It was a tough decision because my heritage is Japanese, I was born and raised in Peru and now live in New York. My husband is German and also lives in NY. For me, changing my last name meant losing my heritage because I have a spanish name and my last name was the only thing that kept my “japaness-ness”. In the end, I decided to take my husband’s last name and change my middle name to my japanese name, which it’s not on any of my legal papers but everybody back at home calls me by that name.

Long story short, the last name change was easy, all I had to do was to check a box when we got married. I can use my marriage certificate to change all my legal documents. By the way, if you just did this and are wondering how to go about changing all your docs, I’d recommend using a site that helps you identify all the agencies/banks/etc you need to notify and then gather all the docs for you. All you have to do is print and mail them. 

here are some sites:

http://www.namechangeexpress.com/

https://www.missnowmrs.com/

This is all great but I also wanted to change my middle name. The legal process to change your name could be quite overwhelming. I did a lot of research and realized it was overwhelming at all.  First, I found this really great blog post that helped understand the process: http://www.legalzoom.com/name-change-guide/name-change-instructions.html

Then, I went to the the NYC Civil Court site and applied for a name change petition. It was super easy to do, and no need of lawyers

http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/civil/namechanges.shtml

Once I got the petition notarized, i went to the NYC Civil Court and submitted my paperwork. The clerk gives you a date to come back for your hearing. The hearing was easy as well, the judge asked me a few basic questions and it was done!

Then, you have to publish you new name petition to a paper. They give you different options, I picked the Irish Echo. I went to their site and applied online. I submitted my info, paid $35 and uploaded the name change petition. After a couple of hours I got a phone call from them telling me the date it will be published and where and when I should go to pick up my affidavit. 

Once you pick up the affidavit, go to the NYC Civil Court Clerk again and voila! you’re done. All you have to do is get certified copies of the name change document so you can then submit all the paperwork needed in different agencies to change your name.

I used name change express to gather all the paperwork I need. Even though the site is targeted to married couples, you can still use their service for a name change process. The only difference is to use the name change doc instead of your marriage certificate.

Hope this is helpful!