Frequently Asked Questions

Office of the County Clerk
Bradford Kendall,County Clerk

  Court/Legal Actions  

Q.  How can I get my name changed?

You should obtain a court order that officially changes your name.  The process is relatively simple in the case of a marriage or a divorce; in these situations, a name change can be included in the marriage certificate or on the order of divorce. 

However, if you are changing your name for any reason other than a divorce or a marriage, you must petition the New York State Supreme Court for a name change, and the process will be a bit more complicated.

The following is meant only as a summary of the procedure that you should follow to petition the court for a name change.  Please contact the Dutchess County Clerk at (845) 486-2120 for more specific instructions:

  1. To petition the court for a name change, you must first gather and fill out all of the necessary documents, including an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, a petition to change your name, a proposed name change order, an index number application, and a filing fee of approximately $210.00.  These documents must all be presented at the Dutchess County Clerk’s Office at 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie.

  2. The County Clerk will assign an index number to your request, after which you must present your documents to the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office at 10 Market Street, Poughkeepsie.  There will then be a waiting period during which the court will decide whether to issue an order to allow your requested name change.

  3. Once the order is issued by the judge, you must file the order with the Dutchess County Clerk.  You must also publish your name change in a newspaper in Dutchess County.  Then you must complete an affidavit of publication and file it with the Dutchess County Clerk.

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  Motor Vehicles  

Q.  I just bought/sold/inherited a car. How do I transfer the title?

Click on the following link to access the New York State Department of Motor Vehicle’s webpages on the subject of transferring title to a car.

Q.  How do I register and title a motorcycle?

The process to register and title a motorcycle is much the same as that of an automobile.  Regulations vary, however,  depending on whether the vehicle was purchased from a dealer or from a private party, whether the vehicle was purchased out-of-state, whether the vehicle is leased, etc.  Generally, you must present the following items at your local NYS DMV office:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Odometer and Damage Disclosure Statements (if previously owned)
  • New York State Insurance Identification Card (FS-20)
  • Proof of your identity and date of birth
  • Form MV-82 (Vehicle Registration / Title Application)
  • Payment
  • Proof of sales tax payment, sales tax exemption, or purchase price


For further information, please visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Registration & Title webpage or contact the Dutchess County Clerk's Office; click Here to access local contact information.  If you wish to obtain information regarding motorcycle licenses, click Here to visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles web page. 

Q.  I just moved to Dutchess County. How do I register my vehicle?

To register your vehicle in Dutchess County, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  To expedite your visit, view the information on the NYS DMV website to download the necessary forms to complete before you visit your local DMV office. Click Here to find out what documents you will need to bring to the DMV office and to download the forms.  Click Here for the location and hours of your local DMV office.

Q.  I just moved into the area. How much time is allowed to get my car inspected and registered?

When you move into New York State, you have thirty days in which to have your car inspected and registered.

Q.  Where can I find information about getting a learner's permit to drive?

To apply for a driver's learner permit, you must be 16 years of age or older, you must show proof of identity, and you must show your social security card.  Proof of identity must have a total value of at least six points and must prove your date of birth.  After you pay the application fee and the driver license fee, pass the vision test and the written test, you will receive your permit. 

Click Here to visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website to find more detailed information about learner's permits and driver's licenses-including junior drivers and the graduated licensing law.

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Q.  Where can I apply for a passport?

You have several options when applying for a passport:

  1. You can apply for a passport at office the Dutchess County Clerk; normal processing is within 25 days (5 weeks) from date of receipt.  View the County Clerk’s Passport page for more information.
  2. There are numerous other locations where you can apply for a passport in Dutchess County, including several post offices, libraries and town clerks.  You will need an appointment to apply at some of these locations.
  3. To find out specifically where else you can apply and what the hours and appointment requirements are, visit the U.S. Department of State’s passport, pages, then click on “How to Get a Passport” and “Where to Apply”.

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Q.  Where can I get a copy of a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage?

The Dutchess County Clerk can provide you with a copy of this document.  Click Here to reach the County Clerk’s webpage with more specific information on obtaining copies.

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Bradford Kendall,County Clerk Bradford Kendall
County Clerk
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