Can I Change My Baby's Last Name After Birth in New York State?

By Ciele Edwards

Traditionally, when a woman married, she took on her husband's surname. The couple then passed on the surname to any children they have. Today, however, parents have the option to break from tradition and give their new baby the mother's maiden name, a hyphenated last name or a combination surname. Fortunately, if the baby’s new surname doesn't fit, his parents can legally change it. New York law gives parents the right to change a child's last name at any time, provided both parents are in agreement about the change.

Traditionally, when a woman married, she took on her husband's surname. The couple then passed on the surname to any children they have. Today, however, parents have the option to break from tradition and give their new baby the mother's maiden name, a hyphenated last name or a combination surname. Fortunately, if the baby’s new surname doesn't fit, his parents can legally change it. New York law gives parents the right to change a child's last name at any time, provided both parents are in agreement about the change.

Parental Agreement

Changing a baby's last name after birth is easiest when both parents agree to the proposed change. The parents must visit the courthouse and request a Change of Name application from the court clerk. You must fill out the application, noting the baby’s current name and the desired name. Both parents must sign the application and return it to the court clerk along with a certified copy of the baby's birth certificate. If the parents reside in New York but the baby was born in another state, they can still legally change the baby's name with a Change of Name application. The parents must provide the court clerk with a certified copy of the baby's original birth certificate, passport or baptismal certificate as proof of the child's current name.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More

Contested Name Change

In some situations, one parent wishes to change the child's name while the other parent does not. Should one parent contest the name change, the parent in favor of the new name must obtain the court's permission before the name change takes effect. The judge assigned to the case reviews the reasoning behind the proposed change and makes a ruling based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Publication Requirements

When a court grants a parent's name change request, the parent must comply with New York's publication requirements. The publication requirements serve to inform others about an individual's new name and apply to both adults and children. To meet the proposed requirements, the parent must publish a notice of the name change in the local newspaper. The publication fees associated with this requirement are the parent's responsibility.

Birth Certificate Errors

When a parent or the hospital makes an error filling out a baby's birth certificate, that error can and will follow the child for the rest of his life. Birth certificate errors are particularly problematic when they involve a baby's name. Parents in New York must fill out a birth certificate correction form and deliver it to the court clerk who forwards it directly to the state Supreme Court for review. If the error was made at the hospital, the parents must submit the correction form and the child's newborn certificate to the hospital that originally made the error. Both parents must sign the correction form and pay any applicable fees. Fees for processing birth certificate corrections vary by district.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More
How to Change a Minor's Last Name With Divorced Parents in Maryland

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Change a Female's Last Name in New York

New York law allows any resident of the state to change her name for any reason other than to defraud people. Women can make a name change official by using the New York marriage license application, in situations where the change is part of the marriage process, or by filing a name change petition with a civil court in a New York district.

How to Change a Child's Name in Texas

Texas laws allow you to legally change a child's name by filing a petition in court. Both parents and any other person who has a court-ordered right and interest in the child must grant consent. Children ten years of age or older must also grant written consent to the name change. The petition and all other necessary forms are filed in the Texas District Court of the county in which the child resides.

How to Change the Last Name of a Child in Georgia

Both parents must agree to change the name of their child in Georgia. Georgia only allows one parent to change the child's name if the other parent is dead, hasn't given any support for child for at least the last five years before the petition filing or has abandoned the child. The parents must file the name change papers in the superior court of the Georgia county the child lives in. The forms needed for a child's name change in Georgia are typically available at the superior courthouse or county law library.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

How to Change Your Baby's Last Name in Illinois

Illinois allows you to change a baby's name as long as you're the baby's parent, have custody of the baby and have ...

How to Change a Baby's Last Name Legally

Changing your baby's name is typically a simple process if both parents agree to the new name. Exact state requirements ...

Father's Rights to Objection to Changes to a Child's Name in California

It is no coincidence that a last name is called the "family name," which goes a long way toward explaining ...

Got Married & Want to Change Stepchild's Name in Illinois

Blended families that unite stepparents and stepchildren are fairly common. In most cases, stepchildren and their ...

Browse by category