Privacy and Name Change

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Name change applications are public records. This means they can be found and viewed by anyone. If you have safety concerns, you can ask the court to “seal” the records.

The law says that if your safety or your children’s safety is in danger you can have your name change request "sealed" right away [New York Civil Rights Law section 64-a(2)]. A sealed name change request cannot be found in the public records. The Court file will stay sealed while the Court considers the request. After the Judge rules on your name change, if the Court finds that your safety is in danger, the Court can seal your name change for good [New York Civil Rights Law section 64-a(1)].

It is best to speak to a lawyer or a domestic violence counselor to help you through the name change process. You can also speak to the Court Clerk to find out how to ask to seal your request or you can visit a Court Help Center. Visit Safety & Violence for more information about domestic violence.

Read the Name Change Law.

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