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In re Application of Boquin

New York Supreme Court, Westchester County

April 1, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Giacomo, J.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the printed Official Reports.

Petitioner seeks to change his name from Carlo F. Zelaya Boquin to Carlo F. Zelaya Boquin Quinn to formally adopt the last name he has used his whole life, "Quinn", which is the surname of the couple that raised him.

Although one does not need permission of the court to change one's name. Smith v. United States Casualty Co., 197 NY 420, 90 N.E. 947 (1910)*fn1. Public policy favors a court's review and granting of name change applications because this makes the change of name a matter of public record. Matter of Halligan, 46 AD2d 170, 361 NYS2d 458(4th Dept., 1974); In re Mohomed, 3 Misc 3d 402, 775 NYS2d 488 (S.Ct. Rockland County, 2004); Matter of Linda Ann A., 126 Misc 2d 43, 44, 480 NYS2d 996 (Civ Ct. Queens Co.,1984).

A court should not rubber stamp any application for name change as it is the Court's obligation to ensure that the name change will not be a source of fraud, evasion or interference with the rights of others. See, Matter of Adoption of J.O.T., 120 Misc 2d 817, 466 NYS2d 636 (Fam.Ct. Kings County, 1983).

In support of his application, petitioner submits a verified petition that complies with the provisions for a name change found in Civil Rights Law § 61*fn2 together with petitioner's birth certificate from Honduras, although the petition does not state if he is still a citizen of Honduras. In his application, petitioner states that he is a "permanent resident of the United States", but submits no proof of this to the Court.

Also attached to the petition is an affidavit of petitioner's wife, Sara Carbone, who consents to the application. However, a copy of his marriage license is not annexed to the petition therefore the Court cannot make any determination if the petitioner's name was changed pursuant to Civil Rights Law § 65*fn3.

While citizenship*fn4 is not a prerequisite to obtaining a change of name under the statutory framework of the Civil Rights Law [see, Civil Rights Law Article 6; In re Mohomed, supra ] a court many deny an application by an alien absent proof of their immigration status and stated intent to remain in the United States. See also, Application of Lipschutz, 178 Misc. 113, 32 NYS2d 264 (S.Ct. Queens County, 1941).

In the instant matter, as indicated petitioner submits no proof that he is a permanent resident of the United States. The petition does not state petitioner's intentions with regard to remaining in the United States and does not indicate that, if the application were granted, he would advise the appropriate authorities in the United States and Honduras of the name change. See, In re Mohomed, supra.

While the Court has no reason to doubt that petitioner's motives are anything but proper, nonetheless, the Court "must recognize the realities of the world we live in after the events of September 11, 2001 and the need to ensure compliance with the applicable immigration laws." In re Mohomed, supra 3 Misc 3d at 403, 775 NYS2d at 490.

Accordingly, in the absence of proof regarding petitioner's immigration status and a statement that he will report the change of name to the appropriate authorities in the United States and Honduras, the application is DENIED without prejudice to renewal upon a properly supported petition.

The foregoing shall constitute the decision and order of the Court.

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