If you want to legally change your name (for example as part of gender transition), you will first need to submit a petition to your local court:
- In some parts of the country, this is done at a Family and Probate Court.
- In other parts of the country, this is done at a Chancery Court.
- Contact local legal organizations for more information on where to file!
- Be aware that there are frequently filing fees, though these can sometimes be waived for indigent applicants.
- You can search for examples of these petitions online, have an attorney help you with this process, or use this template (.docx file).
- After submitting this petition, you may need to set up a court date. You will be given a way to contact the relevant judge’s assistant or someone who can schedule this for you.
- In court, you will need to have a court order prepared for the judge to sign. This sounds a bit intimidating, but a court order is simply a short document that declares what the change is going to be.
- Again, you can search for examples of court orders (your county may have an electronic system that will let you look up documents like these that have been accepted in your area), have an attorney help you with this, or you can use this template (.docx file).
- With your court order signed by the judge and filed with your local clerk, you can proceed with changing your information. Social security will be your first stop, and you can find the information about how to do this in the section about changing your gender marker.
(This information was originally compiled and summarized by the owner of this site, who lives in Mississippi. Thanks!)
Be aware that having a debt or criminal record may complicate the process. Some courts require background checks or judgement searches. If you encounter this, don’t panic. Seek legal aid.