How to Change a Child's Name and Gender

How-to Guide to Changing a Child's Name AND Gender

As of January 1, 2019, an adult may petition the court for a minor's name change and to recognize a minor's change of gender to female, male, or nonbinary.  The petition must be signed by one or two of the minor’s parents, a guardian, a dependency attorney, or, if both parents are deceased and there is no guardian, by a near friend or relative. If you are a guardian or dependency attorney, read How to Change a Child's Gender or Name AND Gender if you are a Guardian or Dependency Attorney for the Child.

Generally, to get a court order changing a minor's name AND recognizing a change of gender, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your court forms
    • If all living parents sign the Petition:
      • Petition for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name, (Form NC-500),
      • Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (Form NC-110),
      • Order to Show Cause for Change of Name to Conform to Gender Identity (Form NC-125 / NC-225), (Note: this is a different order to show cause then below)
      • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010). and,
      • Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-230) (complete boxes at top and item 1).

         
    • If there is a living parent who does not sign the Petition:
      • Petition for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name, (Form NC-500),
      • Attachment to Petition for Change of Name (Form NC-110),
      • Order to Show Cause for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name (Form NC-520) (Note: this is a different order to show cause than above; the court clerk will add the hearing date and time when you file it),
      • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010) and,
      • Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-230) (complete boxes at top and item 1)

  2. Have your forms reviewed
    If your court's family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with name and gender change recognition cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.

  3. Make 1 copy of all your forms (plus one for each living parent who did not sign)

  4. File your forms with the court clerk
    File all the forms and copies in the superior court in the county where the minor lives. The clerk will stamp your forms “Filed,” keep the original, and return the copies to you. You will have to pay a filing fee. 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.

  5. Serve notice on parents, if necessary
    If the petition does not include the signature of all living parents, any living parent who did not sign the petition must be served the petition and the Order to Show Cause for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name (Form NC-520). The order to show cause will direct the parent to file any objections to the petition for recognition of gender change at least two days before the date of the court hearing, and to file any objections to the petition for name change within 6 weeks of the date of the order to show cause.

    The documents must be served by the earlier of one of two dates:  either 30 days before the hearing or 30 days from the date on which the order to show cause was issued by the court.  The service of the documents must be by personal service if the parent lives in California or, if the parent lives out of state, may be by certified mail. You must have the person who did the service (it cannot be you) complete a proof of service form (you may use Form POS-020 for proof of personal service) and you must file the proof of service with the court to show that it was done. Learn more about service here.

  6. Go to your court hearing, if necessary
    If no objection is filed within the time periods in the order to show cause, the court shall grant the petition without a hearing.  If a hearing date was set in the order to show cause, check with the court the day before the hearing date to see if the hearing will be held.  If no hearing date was set in the order to show cause, the court will send you a notice if a hearing date is set.  You may check six weeks after the order to show cause was issued to see if any objections were filed.

    If an objection is timely filed and a hearing is set, go to court on your court date. Take the Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-230) for the judge to sign. The court may deny a minor’s petition to recognize a change of gender if a non-consenting parent presented a timely written objection and, after holding a hearing, the court determines that recognizing the change of gender is not in the best interests of the minor

  7. Get your Decree Changing Name and Recognizing Change of Gender from the court
    If the court grants the recognition of a change of gender, the judge will sign the Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-230). Once you get your signed order, get a certified copy from the court clerk. You will need this to change your name on your legal documents, including your birth certificate and other government-issued identification like your driver’s license. Click for information on changing your birth certificate.