Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How I Changed My Name

I just received an email today from someone who asked the following questions: "Do you know where someone can go online to find information about legally changing their name? Where did you find the information about the process of doing this?" She was asking most likely on behalf of other clients who are ready or likely to be ready soon to change their name to a more gender appropriate name.

I Googled for it using state name and "name change." For example, the query http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=kentucky+name+change yields all the information you need for the state of Kentucky. Primarily,
  • Kentucky Name Change Center lists the Kentucky state code. Essentially it states that you must change your name with the District Court of the county in which you reside. Since I reside in Jefferson County, I went to the Court Clerk to transfer my driver's license to Texas using proof of residence, such as a utility bill or a lease. I was then able to use the new driver's license as my proof of residency.
  • Kentucky Court of Justice Forms Library has an online form of the Petition for Name Change that the applicant brings to the Court Clerk. The Probate Court where I had mine done required that I also type the copy that the County District Court Clerk would sign in the office on a manual typewriter.
  • I was able to do my name change through Jefferson County's Circuit Court Clerk, because I am a resident of Louisville. The Kentucky Circuit Court listing is here: http://courts.ky.gov/counties/

When I had my new Driver's License in hand, I called the circuit court and found out that name changes are submitted through the Probate Court in the Hall of Justice downtown. The office is open until 4 or 4:30 PM, so it requires a little time off. On the petition for "Reason for name change:" I put "To legalize my use name to conform with my gender." When I had manually typed the order to be signed and turned it in as well, I was informed that the clerk handles name changes "out-of-docket," which means I didn't have to appear and he did it between cases. The petition is notarized on the spot and you need a check or money order for 8 dollars for the handling fee. I spent about 45 dollars for 3 certified copies. The first copy is 35 dollars and they are 5 dollars each after that. If everything is in order, you get your certified copies in the mail 7 to 10 days later.

The first place to go is any Social Security Administration Office. I went to the one in Elizabethtown because it was closer to my work. They need to see a name change order, so I take it with me. They gave me a receipt. I held onto it, because it takes a week for your new Social Security Card to arrive in the mail.

After I waited a day, I could take my name change and the receipt from Social Security to the nearest driver's license office. It cost 12 dollars and I was issued a new one on the spot.

Meanwhile, with the Name Change Order I started updating my name everywhere else. The empoloyer HR, landlord, bank and credit card companies wanted to make a copy of the certified order. My HR department also wanted a new copy of my social security card and I faxed my new driver's license as well. There was somewhere else that required my to fax a copy of the order, but it slips my mind. Utility companies will usually take my word for it over the phone.

If you update your birth certificate, you need to check with their office of vital records. I was born in Maine, so they just needed me to send a certified copy of the order with 60 dollars, which I wrote on my new checks with my new name.

And don't forget to take your name change order with you to your doctor's next visit, so they can update their records. I have 2 certified copies still, since I go in person and fax/email a copy where I can. I've lost one temporarily to Maine Vital Statistics and should be getting it back with my new birth certificate.

That's about it.

Hugs and God Bless,

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