so for all of you living in onondaga county (new york) here is what you need initially (changing your name varies from state to state and county to county):
1 - a certified birth certificate, certified just means it's not a copy and it has the raised seal on it (i thought the woman at the office was going to copy this, but she actually stapled it to my paperwork so who knows if i'm getting that back...oops)
2 - a petition for a name change
3 - an order for a name change
4 - a request for judicial intervention (3 copies - 1 original, 2 copies)
5 - an application for an index number
6 - $210 dollars for an index number (no checks or credit cards, only cash and money orders)
**numbers 2 through 5 you can pick up on the third floor, room 302, of the courthouse (401 montgomery street, syracuse, ny)
steps to changing your name:
1 - i would suggest filling out all of your paperwork and handing it in at the same time. the petition and order are very easy to fill out and you can definitely do those on your own (there are a few places you need to leave blank: the top of the order for a name change, the space for the date on the second page, anywhere it says index number and the last page of the order where the judge has to sign...and then with the petition DON'T sign it right away...i'll get back to this)
2 - filling out the RJI (i'm trying to remember as best as i can...i forgot to make a copy of this for myself): at the top it says "plaintiff v. defendant", you need to fill in your full legal name v. name change. for the first row of boxes "nature of judicial intervention", check the other box and underneath write "application for name change". for the next row of boxes you check something under the torts section (i'm going to check up on this and update later). second page...pretty sure you check no for everything and then under the attorney section - plaintiff- (if you're self-representing) check the self representing box and write your name, address and phone number. then at the bottom there is a question about this "case" being related to other cases...i just wrote "no" or "N/A" and then you have to sign and date the bottom.
3 - filling out the application for an index number: the box on the top left entitled "title of action or proceeding", fill in your full legal name and under that write "name change". in the box to the right check the "civil" box. in the next section, write your name, address and phone number in the plaintiff section.
4 - before handing everything in and getting your index number, get your petition notarized. you can do this at the clerk's office (room 200) for free. the woman at the front desk did it for me, she just asked for i.d. and then i signed it in front of her and she stamped the petition.
5 - hand in all of your paperwork! the woman will stamp all of your papers with your index number - no worries. i handed everything in at the same time, however i think if you hand in your RJI at a different time you have to pay ($95) for that also. oh yea fork over your $210 to the dude. you'll receive a receipt with your index number on it.
so this is where i'm at now. i've heard that it can take anywhere from a week to a few months for the court to get back to you. hopefully the judge will sign your order and send it back to you. you then need to get a legal notice published in a newspaper (i am using the catholic sun because it's the cheapest). the exact words you need to print are on the second page of the order...so i'm not going to go into the details of this because i haven't done it yet, but of course will update this when i do (hopefully soon).
this website has been extremely helpful: http://www.thetransitionalmale.com/newyorkstaenc.html
along with this website: http://www.nycourts.gov/forms/namechange.shtml
and of course major props to diana for helping me fill out my rji!
this of course can be a confusing and frustrating process but remember many people have done it before and are willing to help you - stay strong and don't give up.
peace and love