What should I know about name changes and gender marker changes in Georgia?

Por: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
Lea esto en: English

Name & Gender Marker Changes

What should I know?

As long as you meet the requirements, you have the right to legally change your name or gender marker in Georgia.

There are four legal requirements for changing your name in Georgia: 

  • You must live in Georgia
  • You must file with the Superior Court in the county you reside in, 
  • You must not change your name to commit fraud or for the purpose of fraud, and
  • You must publish notice of change for 4 weeks in the legal newspaper for your county
What are the name change requirements for a minor?

If the person who wants to change their name is under 18 years old, there are additional requirements:

  • Both parents must consent to the name change unless a parent has abandoned the child. 
    • Examples of abandonment include failure to support, visit, or communicate with the child for a minimum of six months.
  • Parents who have not consented must be served with the name change petition. 
Why do I have to publish a notice of my name change in a newspaper?

You have to publish a notice of your name change to make sure you are not committing fraud. An example of fraud might be changing your name to hide your criminal history or to steal someone’s identity. Publishing the notice gives a potential fraud victim an opportunity to notify the court by filing an objection. 

There is no reason other than fraud that someone can object to your name change. For example, a family member cannot stop you from getting your name changed just because they disapprove or disagree.

However, if there is evidence of family violence against you, the judge may allow you to file your case under seal and waive the publication requirement. You should ask the judge for this at the time you file your case. Examples of evidence include police reports and temporary protective orders.

The cost of a name change varies by county, but in general the costs are:

  • Approximately $200-$250 to file with the court
  • Approximately $80 newspaper fee for publication 
  • Certified copies cost $2.50- $5.00 
How do I get a fee waiver for court filing fees?

If you cannot afford the court costs, you can file an Affidavit of Poverty when you file your case.

  • The Affidavit must be notarized. Wait until you are with the notary before you sign it. 
  • You can find the Affidavit form on the county clerk’s website or office. 
  • The judge will read your Affidavit and decide if your court fees should be waived
  • In some counties, the Affidavit will also waive the newspaper fees.  
  • Check your county's requirements. You may need paperwork, such as pay stubs, when you file.

In Georgia, you can get your gender marker changed legally: 

  • on your birth certificate and/or 
  • on your state ID or Driver’s License

To change your gender marker on your birth certificate, the Georgia Office of Vital Records requires that:

  • You must have had some surgical procedure towards “changing your sex”,
  • You must have a court order confirming the surgical procedure, and
  • You must have had a legal name change. 
     

To change your gender marker on your driver’s license or state ID, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) requires that:

  • You pay a $5 change fee, and
  • You provide either a doctor’s letter or a court order stating:
    • Your name,
    • Date of birth,
    • Date of gender confirming operation, and 
    • Other identifying information.

Some doctors may provide a letter based on medical treatment other than surgery such as hormone replacement therapy, but you should know that DDS may not accept it. You can provide your doctor with a sample letter to bring with you to DDS. It is important to know that a court order is almost always part of the public record. If you have privacy concerns and you do not need to or want to change your Georgia birth certificate, asking your doctor for a letter may be a better option for you.

To get a court order you must file a petition to change your gender marker in the Superior Court in the county where you live. 

  • You can either file to change your gender marker after you have gotten your name changed, OR 

  • You can also file to change your gender maker at the same time you file to change your name. Add a line to your Petition for Name Change requesting a gender marker change. Then take your medical records showing you’ve had surgery to affirm your gender identity to your final hearing. To protect your privacy, filing your medical records is not recommended.

  • You will get a court order after your final hearing is finished. This order can then be used to request a gender marker change on your birth certificate or state ID.

A court order is almost always part of the public record. This means that anyone can get a copy. You can also ask the judge to have your documents sealed. However, this means that the documents will be sealed from you too. You should make sure to take good care of your own certified copies because you won't be able to get more copies if the court record is  sealed.

What can I do?

Name change forms are available for free online on your county’s court website. If you go to the clerk’s office, you may have to pay to have them printed. You can write in or type in an extra line on the Petition for Name Change requesting a gender marker change. 

What forms do I need?

Check with the clerk of the court where you are filing your case to make sure you have the correct forms. In general, you will need to file:

  • General Civil Case Filing Form (This opens your case)
  • Petition for Name Change/Gender marker change (To say that you want your name and/or gender marker changed and that you are not doing it for the purpose of fraud.)
  • Verification - To swear before a notary that your petition is true
  • Notice of Name Change-  To be filed with the Clerk of Court and published in the newspaper
  • Affidavit of Poverty (optional - to request a fee waiver) 

You can file for a name change or gender marker change either separately or at the same time. File your forms in the Superior Court in the county where you live. In most counties, you can file either:

  • Online, or 
  • In person at the clerk’s office. If you are filing an affidavit of poverty, you may be required to file in person. 
What is the process for getting a name change or gender marker change petition in Georgia?

File Your Petition

  • Complete all of the required forms
  • File these papers with the Clerk of Superior Court in your county. 
  • If filing for a name change, arrange for the newspaper to publish your name change within 7 days of filing your case 
    • Once 4 weeks of publication are complete, the newspaper will send you a Publisher’s Affidavit saying they’ve published your name change. File this Publisher's Affidavit or bring it to your hearing.

Attend Your Final Hearing

  • After filing your case, you will be given a date for your hearing. If you are not given a hearing date, call or email the judge's office to ask for one.  
  • You need to bring documents to the final hearing:
    • Your current photo ID 
    • The Publisher's Affidavit (if you haven't filed it)
    • Medical record/doctor’s letter if asking for gender marker change
  • Before leaving the court, read over the final order to make sure there are no mistakes in your old or new names. Let the judge know if there are any mistakes so that they can correct the order. 

Use Your Court Order to Make Changes on Legal Documents

  • Go to the clerk's office to get 3-4 certified copies of the final hearing. Certified copies are required to make changes to your legal documents. 
  • Take certified copies to the Department of Driver Services to change your license/ID
  • Take certified copies to Social Security for a new social security card 
  • You may want to notify other people/places of your name change
    • Employer, school, bank, credit card company, healthcare providers, insurance company, tag office
  • In most states, you can also use a certified copy to change the name on your birth certificate.

More info

Resources

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Última revisión y actualización: Jul 20, 2022
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