In New York State, you have the right to adopt any name you wish by using that name for everything in your life. This does not apply to children or prison inmates. But, it may be better to legally change your name because most government agencies will not accept your name change without a court order.
You can ask the court to legally change the name you were given at birth, adoption or marriage
Name Change Basics
To ask the Court to change your name or your child’s name, you need to give the Court the following:
court papers asking for the change, this includes: Name Change Petition and Proposed Order. The petition must be filled out and signed in front of a Notary Public. You may need additional forms to change a child’s name. You may also need to give a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to the Court
The Family Court of the State of New York has the authority to decide cases affecting the lives of children and families. The court has a wide range of powers to fit the needs of the people who come before it.
The Family Court Act gives the Family Court power to hear certain types of cases. Each case filed is given its own identifying number, called a “docket number.”
The docket number begins with a letter that identifies the type of case filed:
Single-parent adoptions. Single persons may adopt children, although some agencies strongly prefer to place a child with a married couple. Other agencies particularly those dealing with children who might be hard to place are willing to place a child with a single person. Single-parent adoptions usually are possible in private adoptions.
As with adoptions sought by a couple, a single person who seeks to adopt a child must be approved by a social service investigator and show that appropriate arrangements have been made for care of the child.
Adoption by lesbian or gay couples. Some states-including New York and California-allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt a child. Other states do not allow such adoptions, and many states have laws that are unclear regarding whether it is permissible for two persons of the same sex to adopt a child.