The transgender community is growing, and with that comes unique legal needs. One issue that has come up quite a bit in our practice lately, is a name change of a minor due to a change in gender. About one-third of the people I saw in court for name changes were transgender or transitioning.
Having a name you feel connected to is imperative to feel confident in your transition. We can help you navigate the legal process from start to finish.
The first thing we do is speak with you to prepare the Petition. The Petition can be filed in two different courts- City Civil and State Supreme, but if you are a New York City resident, you will want to save money and file in Civil Court of the City of New York. With the Petition we will need your proof of birth (birth certificate). If you do not have this, we can aide you in getting it. If there is another parent, other than the one completing the Petition, the other parent needs to served with notice.
Once the court receives the required papers, it will set a hearing date. At this date, the judge will grant the name change and give you an order. That order must be taken to a local newspaper and be published. After you have the proof of publishing, that will be filed with the Clerk, who will give you certified copies, and you can begin the process to change your legal documents (Social Security Card, Diver’s License, etc.)
With regard to minor, you can ask to avoid the publication requirement. It would be best to have an attorney draft this so that is not denied. Many times transgendered teens might feel targeted or bullied and since they are minors, the judge may allow the publication step to be skipped.