More Topics FAQs

Changing Your Gender – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I have to publish my request to change my name in a newspaper?

A:  Although it may not make a lot of sense to you, the law requires that you publish your request to change your name and the date of your court hearing to help prevent fraud by letting people know you are changing your name, and giving them a chance to object.

Normally, no one objects, but it is still a legal requirement, and you cannot get a court order to change your name without publishing the notice.

If you are only changing your gender, you do NOT have to publish that request in the newspaper.

Q: What do I need my doctor to fill out for the court?

A:  Your doctor has to write an affidavit or declaration telling the court that you have undergone clinically appropriate treatment for gender change. Your doctor can use a Declaration of Physician — Attachment to Petition (Form NC-210/NC-310).

It is very important that your doctor does this right. It cannot be done by a nurse or someone who is not a licensed physician. 

Q: Where can I get help with my change of name and gender?

A: The Gender Change section on this Online Self-Help Center has a how-to guide to help you ask the court for a change of gender.  Also, the Transgender Law Center offers you many resources, like more instructions on changing your gender, information about the form your doctor has to complete, and instructions to change your DMV license.

Q: How much does it cost to change my gender?

A: In most cases, you will have to pay a filing fee when you ask the court to change your name and/or gender. Find out how much the filing fee is for a first petition (sometimes called a “first appearance” or “first papers”). If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver


On top of the court fee, you may have to pay to publish your Order to Show Cause for Change of Name and Gender (if you are changing your name as well as your gender) in a newspaper. You do not have to publish anything in the newspaper if you are changing your gender only.

Special Education - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if my child hurts himself, hurts others, or is destructive?

A: This behavior can get in the way of your child’s learning and individualized education program (IEP) goals. The local educational agency (LEA) will make a “behavior intervention plan” to help children who hurt themselves or other people, break things, or act out in class.

The plan is supposed to help the student change the behavior. It must be added to your child’s IEP. After your child has a behavior intervention plan, problem behavior will be considered part of the disability and must be addressed by the behavior intervention plan. If that does not work, a new IEP meeting should be called to write new goals, obtain new assessments, or discuss alternative placement.


Q: What if my child is suspended from school?

A:. The principal of your child's school will follow the California Education Code to decide if a student should be suspended. (A teacher is able to send a student out of the class, but only the principal can send the student home.)

Special education students can be suspended just like regular students. But they cannot be suspended for more than 10 days, no matter what the reason for the suspension is, without holding an IEP meeting or being referred for expulsion. The 10 days can be 10 days in a row (consecutive) or a few days at a time adding up to 10 days during the school year. After 10 days, FAPE must be provided to the student.

Q: What if my child is expelled from school?

A: California Education Code section 48915 says what things your child can be expelled for doing, such as bringing a weapon or drugs to school. Your child can be expelled or suspended for some of the same things.

A school principal may refer a student for expulsion, but does not have the authority to expel, only to suspend the student. Only a school board may expel a student.

A special education student cannot be recommended for expulsion until the student has a pre-expulsion assessment, which is called a “manifestation determination” IEP.

Q: Who is part of the manifestation determination IEP (pre-expulsion assessment)?

A: The IEP team has an IEP meeting. The team decides if the student should be expelled. Parents are also part of the pre-expulsion assessment meeting.

Q: What does the IEP team look at in the manifestation determination IEP (pre-expulsion assessment meeting)?

A: The IEP team reviews the goals, services, and placement to decide if the child has had the right services such as a behavior plan, and whether the placement was right when the student misbehaved. They will also look at how the child’s actions are connected to his or her disability. The team has to decide if the behavior was caused by the disability. This is called a “manifestation determination.”

Q: What if I do not agree with what the IEP team decides?

A: If you disagree with the team’s decision about placement, the manifestation determination, or with certain information that the team based its decision on, you can ask for an “administrative due process hearing.” If your child is being referred for expulsion for behavior that you believe is related to the disability, then you may also request an expedited due process hearing.   Write or fax your due process request to the Office of Administrative Hearings at:

Office of Administrative Hearings
Special Education Unit
2349 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 200
Sacramento, California 95833-4231
Tel. 1-916-263-0880
Fax: 1-916-376-6319


Read the user guide Understanding Special Education Due Process Hearings provided by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Q: What if the team decides that my child's disability did NOT cause the bad behavior?

A: If the team decides that the disability did not cause the bad behavior, and that your child had the right educational placement, your child will be disciplined like any other student, including suspension. Your child can be referred for expulsion and can even be expelled if the local school board decides to expel him or her.

Q: What if the team decides that my child's disability caused the bad behavior?

A: Your child cannot be expelled if his or her disability caused the bad behavior or if he or she did not have the right educational placement when the misbehavior occurred. The IEP team should meet to change the IEP and may have new assessments, provide different services, and change placement.

Q: What if my child is not eligible for special education yet?

A: You may still be able to get special protection if your child misbehaves.

If the local educational agency (LEA) knew about your child’s disability before he or she misbehaved, you can get protection for your child from them.

The LEA knew about the disability if:

  • A parent asked for an assessment or wrote a letter saying he or she was worried about a disability,
  • The behavior proves that the child needs special education, or
  • The child's teacher or someone who works for LEA told the director of special education or other personnel that he or she was worried about the child's behavior.

Q: Where can I get more information or help?

A:  Write or visit the website for:

National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities (NICHCY)

1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20009

You can also call them at: 1-800-695-0285.

Or email them at:

Ask them where you can go for help.

You can also read more on this Online Self-Help Center's section on Special Education Rights of Children and Families. And find more links and resources.

Q: Where can I find the law regarding special education?

A:  The information in this section is based on the laws in effect in September 2010. The laws can change at any time. You may want to look at more recent legal references for changes.

Federal Laws and Regulations

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Title 20 United States Code section 1400 and those that follow).

Federal regulations relating to the IDEA, Title 34 Code of Federal Regulations section 300.1 and those that follow.

State Laws

California Education Code sections 56000 and those that follow (on special education) and sections 48900 and those that follow (on school discipline). Click to find these sections.

California Government Code section 7579.5 (on surrogate parents).

California Special Education laws and regulations.

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