Astoria lawmaker’s bill to make name changes easier for marrying couples sent to Cuomo’s desk

Photo-Assemblymember Aravella Simotas
Courtesy of Simotas’ office

Couples planning to marry are now a step closer to greater name change freedom now that Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas’ legislation to amend New York state domestic relations law has passed in both the Senate and Assembly.

The measure, which will take effect as soon as it is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would allow newlyweds to change their middle name as well as their last name upon submission of a marriage certificate.

“It’s long past time for New York state to allow marrying couples to choose the name change that is right for them,” Simotas said. “This bill will make all the difference to newlyweds, saving them months or years of unnecessary red tape.”

The bill addresses a growing trend in which newlyweds with to retain their last name in some form, sometimes as a new or altered middle name. Many states have already altered their laws to accommodate this trend.

The Simotas bill, also referred to as “Jillian’s Law” is named after former state Senate Fellow Jillian Diaz, who found herself struggling to navigate the complex name-change process when she wanted to change her middle name to her maiden name upon marriage. Under provisions of the current law a newlywed wishing to change a middle name either has to go to court or go through a cumbersome process at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“What’s more, it shows that New York is ready to maintain its place as a leader in the areas of marriage equality and social policy,” Simotas said.

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