Office of the City Clerk Office of the City Clerk
Name Change Options

Introduction
Decision to change name when getting married
Name change procedure and options
Legal implications of this option
Right to adopt any name

Introduction

Decision to change name when getting married

  • Your surname does not change automatically upon marriage unless you elect to change it.
  • Nothing in the law requires you to change your name when getting married; it is your personal choice.
  • You are not required to have the same surname as your spouse.

Name change procedure and options

  • Should you elect to change your surname, the change takes effect immediately upon the completion of your Marriage Ceremony.
  • Either you or your prospective spouse may elect to change your surname by entering the new surname in the appropriate space on the application.
  • The new name entered must consist of one of these four surname options:
    • Option 1: the surname of either spouse; or
    • Option 2: any former surname of either spouse; or
    • Option 3: a name combining into a single surname, all or a segment of, the premarriage surname, or any former surname, of each spouse; or
    • Option 4: a combination surname separated by a hyphen, provided that each part of such combination surname is the premarriage surname, or any former surname, of each of the spouses.

Legal implications of this option

  • The use of the name change option will provide you with a record that you elected to change your surname through marriage.
  • Your Marriage Certificate constitutes proof that the use of the new surname or the retention of the former name is lawful.
  • Neither the use of, nor the failure to use, this option of selecting a new surname through the use of the Marriage License application, affects your right to adopt a different surname through usage at some future date.

Right to adopt any name
New York Law states that you have the right to adopt any name you wish simply by using that name consistently and without intent to defraud.

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