ne of the most basic but necessary issues that we can help transgendered clients with is a name and gender change.
You want to be referred to by the proper name and you also want legal recognition of your correct gender identity so that your birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, and other documents are correct.
Most clients divide this process into two steps, but the process can also be streamlined into one petition if you have everything ready and want to proceed with the one step process.
Most clients start with a simple name change petition. This is a straightforward court filing so long as the appropriate filing fees are paid, and you can testify under oath that you are not seeking to change your name to avoid creditors. There is a short hearing required to finalize your name change. At the present time, due to COVID this in person hearing has been waived for some clients. Publication is also required of the name change for three weeks in a local newspaper. We have been successful in requesting publication in lower circulation newspapers. Once the publication process is complete then you can use the certified copy of the Judgment of Name Change to change your name on your social security card, driver’s license, and bank records.
Most clients obtain the name change first. Then, they pursue the gender change after “the sex of an individual…has been changed by a surgical procedure.” RSMO Section 193.215.9. This statutory requirement has been interpreted rather loosely so long as you have a letter from a physician that has been notarized stating that you have had a surgical procedure to change your identity.
Once you have the notarized letter from your physician then another petition is filed, and the appropriate filing fee is paid. The process is again like the name change where publication is required. In some circumstances, publication has been waived and due to COVID, at the present time the in-person hearings have also been waived. Again, like the name change once you receive your final judgment you can pursue the gender change on your birth certificate, driver’s license, and any other government issued documents.
It is important to note that our office has handled more name and gender changes for minors over the past five years than ever before. If the name and/or gender change involves a minor, then please know that your parents’ written consent is required and that your parents will be heavily involved in the court process to make this happen.
Our office does thirty-minute consultations regarding name and gender changes. If you would like to have an advocate to help you through this process, please give us a call today.