Name Changes

Attorneys & Staff Members Who Support this Practice Area

Clients come to Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC seeking to change their name or the name of their child for various reasons, including, but not limited to, protection from domestic violence, allowing the entire family to share the same last name after a parent remarries, transitioning from one gender to another, and/or making the name they have been using informally become their legal name.

Our firm has extensive experience handling name change matters, particularly for members of the LGBTQAI+ community. The process involves filing a petition with the Supreme Court requesting the name change, providing the reason for the name change, and giving the court certain assurances that there is no improper or fraudulent motive involved, such as eluding creditors. The order is generally issued without a court appearance.

Transgender or gender nonconforming clients can also seek to legally change their sex designation so they can update all of their identity documents (i.e. birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.) to reflect their accurate gender identity.

We also routinely request that the court seal the records of our clients’ name and/or sex designation change proceeding, in order to ensure that their information remains confidential to protect the safety and privacy of our clients.  Attorney Joseph Williams recently won an important appeal regarding the sealing of name change and sex designation change records for transgender individuals.

A name or sex designation change for a minor can also be completed easily, as long as both parents are in agreement. However, if one parent opposes the name or sex designation change, a hearing must be held to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to approve the request.

Once a legal name change and/or sex designation change proceeding has been completed, we also assist our clients with amended their identity documents with various state and federal agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (driver’s license), the Department of Health (birth certificate), Department of State (passport), and Social Security Administration.  This helps to ensure that all of our client’s identity documents are correct and consistent.

For more detailed information on name changes, please see Casey Copps DiPaola’s article on the topic, Basics of Name Changes and Recent Developments for Transgender Individuals, and Joseph Williams’ articles, New York State Changes Policy on Birth Certificate Gender Marker Changes for Transgender Minors and The Gender Recognition Act: Progress for Transgender and Nonbinary New Yorkers.

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