How to Change a Child’s Gender or Name and Gender if You Are the Guardian or Dependency Attorney for the Child

How-to Guide for Guardians and Dependency Attorneys

As of January 1, 2019, a guardian or dependency attorney appointed as a guardian ad litem for the child may petition the court for a minor’s name change and to recognize a minor’s change of gender to female, male, or nonbinary.

For any petition brought by a guardian or dependency attorney involving the recognition of a gender change for a minor, whether or not there is also a request for a name change, guardians and dependency attorneys must 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),
      • Declaration of Guardian or Dependency Attorney (Form NC-510G),
      • Order to Show Cause for Change of Name to Conform to Gender Identity (Form NC-125 / NC-225) (only if asking for name change),
      • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010).
    • If one or more parents did not sign, is deceased, or cannot be located:
      • Petition for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate and Change of Name (Form NC-500),
      • Declaration of Guardian or Dependency Attorney (Form NC-510G),
      • Order to Show Cause for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-520) (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-530G) (complete boxes at top and item 1)
  2. Have the 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 person who must be served notice)

  4. File your forms with the court clerk
    File all the forms and copies in the court that appointed you as a guardian or a dependency attorney. The clerk will stamp the forms “Filed,” keep the original, and return the copies to you. If Form NC-520 is required, the clerk will add a court date.  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 or grandparents, if necessary
    If there are living parents who did not sign the petition, 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) must be served on that parent.  If either or both parents are deceased or cannot be located, the petition and order to show cause must be served on the child’s grandparents, if living and known to the guardian or dependency attorney. . If The order to show cause will direct the parent or grandparent 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 or grandparent lives in California or, if the parent or grandparent lives out of state, it 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 the 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.  Check with the court the day before the hearing date to see if the hearing will be held. 

    If an objection is timely filed and a hearing is set, go to court on the hearing date. Take the Decree Changing Name and Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-530G) for the judge to sign.

  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-530G). Once the order is signed, request a certified copy from the court clerk.  The minor will need a certified copy to change their name on their legal documents.