Trans Name Change California – 2021 UPDATE
Transgender Name Change in California is getting really good. In 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB179 into Law. This new law largely replaces AB 1266, making Name Change and Name and Gender Change even easier and more accessible. Among other things, it establishes a new gender category for State ID and Official Records: Nonbinary. In 2019, California ID centers, such as DMV, are required to allow the nonbinary gender identity on their licensing and other documents issued to Californians.
California residents can Petition, starting in September 2018, for Change of Name and Gender WITHOUT needing a physician’s letter or declaration. Also, these Petitioners do not need to attend a public hearing. Publishing (or Advertising) is not required for Petitions seeking to change a person’s gender marker, or a name if it’s to conform to the person’s gender identity. In 2019, California ID centers, such as DMV, are required to include the new Nonbinary marker to indicate a person’s gender.
Since a 2014 law was enacted in California, the courts gradually gained experience in processing Trans types of Name Changes to conform to gender identity. With the 2018 changes, all the clerks, judges and other staff had to learn and re-learn these different ways get Transgender Petitions completed. Now, we’ve got a lot of very successful outcomes everywhere in California, and the courts are all responding pretty well.. So, let’s get them some more work:)
How To Change Your Name And Gender In California
Transgender Name Change in California was made much better since a 2014 California Law took effect, which was further updated and improved in 2018 (- see CCP Section 1277.5). Now, California residents can Petition for Change of Name (to conform to the Petitioner’s Gender Identity) or Change of Name and Gender. Each of those types have different forms and procedures.
For Transgender Petitioners, if you want to Change just Your Name (and not also your Gender Marker at the same time), the Law refers to that as a Petition to conform to the Petitioner’s gender identity. It allows the Petition to be processed without publication of the Hearing (No Advertising). And, it also requires the court to Grant the Petition without appearing at a Hearing, unless objections are received. A confidential background check is still part of the judge’s consideration. See below for the costs and time frames, etc.
If you want a Petition to Change Your Name and Gender, that process has its own set of Forms and a variation on the process. Most notably, a Petition for Name and Gender used to have to be accompanied with a Physician Declaration. The law no longer states that you must have a letter addressing Health and Safety Code sections 103425 and 103430. And, if you were born in California, a Granted Petition allows you to have your birth certificate sealed and a new one created to match the Court Order.
Transgender Name Change Process
The newly modified process is:
- Prepare the correct set of Court Forms for the correct Superior Court
- File the Forms at the correct courthouse and pay the filing fee or use a Court Fee Waiver Request. Get an Approval date.
- Be sure your confidential background check is promptly processed by the court. This may mean an extra Form and/or process, depending on where you live now.
- Monitor the court case. Upon Approval, get your Certified Decree(s) from the court. Start changing your Government and Financial ID and Official Records
- Neither Name (Gender Identity) or Name and Gender Petitioners ARE technically required to attend a Hearing. But, all Petitioners need to get their Certified Copy(s) from the courthouse in order to change ID and Official Records.
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California Gender Marker Change
Each person born in California is assigned a gender at birth. Until recently, genders were limited to “male” or “female”. Effective September 1, 2018, the gender designation of “nonbinary” was added as an official gender. If you Petition for Change of Name and Gender, your new gender marker can be changed for every legal State use. Federal designation will depend on laws yet to be fully developed so that Passports can show the newly established legal gender marker.
So, bottom line…If your California birth certificate shows you as “male”, with a Granted Name and Gender Petition, you can have a new birth certificate made to show your NEW Legal Name and your new gender as either “female” or “nonbinary” Of course, if your birth certificate shows your gender as “female”, you could similarly have a new birth certificate displaying your gender as “male” or “nonbinary”, upon approval.
With your Court Order (Decree), you can then get all your California ID and Official Records to match the Court Order (DMV, School, Professional Licensing, etc.).
How Much Does It Cost To Change Your Gender Marker and Name?
COSTS – Adult Name Change costs vary depending on where you live. The largest cost is what the Court charges for filing and processing it. That cost will be between $435 and $480 to file, depending on the county where you live now. The court can waive that charge if you qualify because of low income (ask us about court fee waiver forms if you think you may qualify).
UPDATE NOTE: Advertising/Publishing is no longer required for these two types of Petitions. The 2018 Name Change Law revisions made that clearer. Reliable, qualified advertising costs run between $90 and $500 depending on the county where you live now and the newspaper chosen. So, it’s a definite cost benefit besides the issue of no longer needing to worry about unwanted publicity. If we help you with Full Service, we have a $45 fee to document the Petition and transmitting documentation to make sure your Petition takes full advantage of these better rules.
Petition preparation costs can run from zero to thousands of dollars. If you do everything yourself, you won’t pay to prepare your own Petition correctly. But, you will have to invest the time to do that properly. Figure on between 5 and 10 hours. Name Change services charge between $190 and $650. Attorney’s charge between $400 and $3,500 for the same thing. If you want legal advice, for instance because you have an unresolved criminal history, you may need an attorney. There are Forms suppliers that charge between “Zero” and $169. Hint: There’s no such thing as “Zero”; check Yelp or other reputable reviews before paying too good to be true prices. It’s important to get this stuff right.
SUMMARY – EZ Name Change Costs
- $115: Initial Payment (Petition Preparation)
- $435 Court Filing Fee (can be 450, 465, or 480 depending on your location)
- $120 Full Service Filing, including CodeCitations, getting Approval/Hearing date and providing a Full Service Filing and Completion REPORT with copies of court-filed documents.
($235 TOTAL, with approved Fee Waiver)
Court Order Name & Gender Change
At the end of this process, you get a Decree Changing Name, or a Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate, upon approval. A Certified Copy of your Decree is the Gold Standard of Name/Name and Gender Change Proof everywhere in the United States and all over the world. Gender Marker for Nonbinary will be subject to the rules and laws of the various other states, the federal government and other countries.
Upon approval, you’re going to receive a Certified Copy(s) of your Court Order Name or Name and Gender Change.. You can then go straight away to get ALL your important California ID and records changed: Social Security, DMV, Passport, School, Banks, Birth Certificate, etc. Legal Name Changes will be honored everywhere. Gender Marker Changes will be honored everywhere in California and be subject to the rules and laws in all other jurisdictions.
Certified Copies of your court order are, upon approval, $40.50 each (or free with approved Fee Waiver). We recommend you get 2, or 3 if you’re going to get a new birth certificate.
Can a Judge Deny a Transgender Name Change?
Yes. A judge is there to stop people from causing harm, injury, or public confusion. Your judge has the duty of checking everything over and concluding that Your Petition can be Granted or not. It’s possible that another person may object to a Transgender Name Change Petition, though it’s very rare. A judge may well deny your Petition if you have unresolved criminal history or, in the case of a Petition to Change a Minor’s Name and Gender, if a non-consenting person makes an objection and the judge thinks the proposed change is not in the child’s best interest.
If done correctly, almost all Petitions for Change of Name and Changes for Name and Gender are Granted.
Changing Name and Gender On Birth Certificate In California
One of the best features of the Name and Gender Change California process is that the successful Petitioner can get a brand new birth certificate, if California born. The Decree (Court Order) issued states “A new birth certificate shall be issued reflecting the changes in name and gender”. You have to request that within 30 days of the date of your Court Order and it only works if you were born in California. The new birth certificate will be a one-page, new original birth certificate. A birth certificate can be submitted in support of a Passport Application and any other Federal use too.
Pretty cool, right?
Name and Gender Change California DMV
You can have your Name and Gender Change reflected on your California DMV ID by following simple steps. If your birth certificate has already been changed to reflect your New Name and Gender, then you just need to get your Social Security Card to match before applying to DMV. If your birth certificate isn’t updated, then you’ll need to also bring a Certified Copy of the Decree Changing Name to the DMV. Since 2019, you can “self-select” your gender on your DMV ID. Be careful to have all your ID be consistent with your name and gender, so you won’t get unwanted questions about differences in your ID. A Certified Copy of your Decree Changing Name and Gender is a perfectly acceptable name change document for every California DMV purpose.
Trans Name Change Help
At EZNameChange.com, we’ve been helping Trans people through the name change process for many years. Legal Name Change for Californian’s is all we do. We’re Specialists. If you want to do your Name Change or Name and Gender Change all by yourself, you can. If you want to just ask a question or two, we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, we will take you all the way through the process if you want that kind of help. We feature low-cost, minimum bother, and maximum satisfaction. Privacy guaranteed! Check out our Yelp reviews.
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