How to Change a Child's Gender

How-to Guide to Changing  a Child's Gender ONLY

As of January 1, 2019, a minor may petition the court to recognize a change of gender to female, male, or nonbinary.  The petition must be signed by one or two of the minor’s parents, a guardian, 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 recognizing a change of gender ONLY (without a name change), follow these steps:

  1. Fill out your court forms
    • Petition for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate, (Form NC-500),
    • Order to Show Cause for Recognition of Minor’s Change of Gender and Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-520) (this is needed only if the petition is not signed by all living parents; the court clerk will add the hearing date when you file it), and
    • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010).
    • Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330) (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 at least 1 copy of all your forms

  4. File your forms with the court clerk
    File all the forms and copies in the superior court in the county where you live. 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 both living parents, you must have any living parent who did not sign the petition served with a copy of the petition and order to show cause.  You should have this service done at least 30 days before the date for hearing set in the order to show cause. The order to show cause will direct the parent to file any objections to the petition at least two days before the date of the court hearing.  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 at least two court days before the hearing date set in the order to show cause, the court shall grant the petition without a hearing.  You may check with the court the day before that hearing date to see if the hearing will be held.

    If an objection is timely filed and a hearing will be held, go to court on the court date. Take the Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330) 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 Order Recognizing Change of Gender from the court
    If the court grants the recognition of a change of gender, the judge will sign the Order Recognizing Change of Gender and for Issuance of New Birth Certificate (Form NC-330). Once you get your signed order, get a certified copy from the court clerk. Click for information on changing a birth certificate.