Montana name change for transgender people

Disclaimer: This is legal talk, not legal advice. Laws vary by state, and some of the information discussed on this page may not be applicable in your case. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information and provide it without warranty. Laws change and this information may contain errors and omissions. It is up to you to confirm any information herein by doing your own research.

For assistance with documents in Montana, please visit genderexpansionproject.org for the latest info.

Other resources

A reader writes in January 2011:

Since originally writing you in 2009, I have began to work with an organization the provides direct support and resources to the transgender community of Montana. In early 2010, we published our first resource guide for the entire state, and since, have branched out into several other guides we find can be very helpful for those individuals early in transition.

One of the guides we recently published is the "Montana State Name Change Process for Transgender Individuals" which is available through our website in .pdf form, and is more or less a how-to guide to the name change process as it applies to most state and federal documents for residents of Montana. Within the guide, an individual can find all the legal forms required for name change, which have been modified to be specific to trans-identified individuals, and furthermore, have been proven to be an extremely effective and efficient method to go about changing one's name. The guide can be found at

http://www.genderexpansionproject.org/resources&publications/Becoming%20Me%20-%20MT%20Name%20Change.pdf

A reader writes in May 2009:

I wanted to write you an email providing a little information on my legal name change process in the State of Montana, as I have been able to discover a few things that have truly helped me move forth in the process, particularly in changing my drivers license. Though this may not be a person's most important legal document, it is the one document that almost everyone will see at one time or another, which designates both name and gender. I have found a few very simple steps, which are not readily available, to my knowledge, on the Montana DMV website, that I would like to inform you of, in hopes that perhaps you might be able to convey my knowledge to other trans people living in Montana. I began formal transition in November of 2008, and began move forward fairly rapidly through my transition since that point. I started HRT in late January of 2009, and am currently planning for an orchiectomy in the next 6 to 12 months. I am still pre-operative, so, when I first considered legally changing my name, I knew I most likely would not get the gender marker changed on my documentation. This really did not bother me TOO much, other than the fact that my drivers license would still say Male, which really bothered me. In March of 2009, I applied for a court order for a legal name and gender change with an order for sealed record, in Missoula County Court, much to my surprise, I found a great deal of acceptance here, and the judge who is responsible for all name / gender changes in Missoula County, was an extremely accepting and genuinely nice individual. The process of my court order took approximately 15 - 20 days from the day that I submitted my paperwork, to the day that I had my court hearing and received my paperwork.

After being granted my court order for a legal name and gender change, I immediately submitted my paperwork to the Montana Vital Statistics, in hopes that I might actually get the marker changed, however, I was soon informed that they would not be able to change the marker, despite having a court order, and so my next step was to contact an attorney, to see where I stood, and if I had grounds for a reappeal. During this time, I contacted the therapist I have been seeing since November, and was informed that though I could not get my marker changed on my birth certificate or social security, I would be able to get everything changed on my drivers license in order to protect me. The process was actually extremely simple. I provided a generic letter from my therapist and physician stating that I was receiving both medical and psychological treatment for gender identity disorder, accompanied by my court order for both a legal name and gender change, and my original Montana drivers license, at which point, they immediately provided me with a new drivers license reflecting both my change in name and gender, despite that my birth certificate and social security information had yet to be changed.

I hope that you might find this information helpful, and perhaps you already were aware of this, and I just failed to take notice, which is possible. I hope that this is of some help.

On a side note, talking with my attorney, the state of Montana has no exact legal definition of what defines sexual reassignment, and there for, as long as my surgeon provides a letter stating that I have undergone surgical procedure as part of my treatment in my transition from male to female, I will be able to change the marker on my birth certificate once I get a court order stating that I have undergone surgical procedure, and despite the Social Security Administration's requirement for "Complete Reassignment"; which I find to be a very gray area; they will change it as long as my birth certificate states that I am female.

Montana law

http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca_toc/27_31.htm

Chapter 31. CHANGE OF NAME

Part 1. General Provisions

27-31-101. Petition for change of name of natural person. All applications for change of names must be made to the district court of the county where the person whose name is proposed to be changed resides, by petition signed by such person and, if such person is under 18 years of age, by one of the parents, if living, or if both be dead, then by the guardian, and if there be no guardian, then by some near relative or friend. The petition must specify the place of birth and residence of such person, his or her present name, the name proposed, and the reason for such change of name and must, if neither parent of such person be living, name as far as known to the petitioner the near relatives of such person and their place of residence.

History: En. Sec. 2261, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7361, Rev. C. 1907; amended. Sec. 1, Ch. 39, L. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9964, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9964, R.C.M. 1935; amended. Sec. 21, Ch. 240, L. 1971; amended. Sec. 33, Ch. 94, L. 1973; amended. Sec. 59, Ch. 535, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-2(part).

27-31-102. Petition for change of name of nonprofit corporation. Any religious, benevolent, literary, or scientific corporation or any corporation bearing or using or being known by the name of any benevolent or charitable order or society may by petition apply to the district court of the county in which its articles of incorporation were originally filed or in which its property is situated for a change of its corporate name. Such petition must be signed by a majority of the directors or trustees of the corporation and must specify the date of the formation of the corporation, the name proposed, and the reason for the change of name. Upon the filing of the petition, the same procedure shall be followed as upon applications for changes of names of natural persons.

History: En. Sec. 2261, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7361, Rev. C. 1907; amended. Sec. 1, Ch. 39, L. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9964, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9964, R.C.M. 1935; amended. Sec. 21, Ch. 240, L. 1971; amended. Sec. 33, Ch. 94, L. 1973; amended. Sec. 59, Ch. 535, L. 1975; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-2(part); amended. Sec. 60, Ch. 12, L. 1979.

27-31-103. District court jurisdiction. Applications for change of names must be heard and determined by the district court. History: En. Sec. 2260, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7360, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 9963, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9963, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-1.

Part 2. Procedure

27-31-201. Order setting hearing date -- notice -- safety. (1) When a petition setting out the matters contained in 27-31-101 or 27-31-102 is filed, the court or judge may appoint a time for hearing the petition. Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), notice of the time and place of hearing the petition must be published for 4 successive weeks in some newspaper published in the county, if a newspaper is printed in the county. If a newspaper is not printed in the county, a copy of the notice must be posted in at least three public places in the county for 4 successive weeks.

(2) Publication is not required for a change of name of a minor under 27-31-101 if both parents and all legal guardians consent in writing.

(3) The court may allow a petition to proceed on a sealed-record basis when probable cause is shown that the safety of the petitioner is at risk and the judge is satisfied that the petitioner is not attempting to avoid debt or to hide a criminal record. The request to proceed on a sealed-record basis must be set forth in the petition. All papers and records pertaining to the sealed-record petition must be kept as a permanent record of the court and withheld from inspection unless the judge denies the request to proceed on a sealed-record basis. A person, other than the petitioner, may not have access to the records except for good cause shown and on order of the judge of the court in which the petition was granted. History: En. Sec. 2262, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7362, Rev. C. 1907; amended. Sec. 1, Ch. 7, L. 1911; re-en. Sec. 9965, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9965, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-3; amended. Sec. 1, Ch. 233, L. 1987; amended. Sec. 1, Ch. 169, L. 1997.

27-31-202. Filing of objections to change. At any time before such hearing, objections may be filed by any person who can, in such objections, show to the court or judge good reasons against such change of name. History: En. Sec. 2263, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7363, Rev. C. 1907; amended. Sec. 2, Ch. 7, L. 1911; re-en. Sec. 9966, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9966, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-4 (part).

27-31-203. Conduct of hearing. On the day set for the hearing of said petition or at any time to which the hearing is continued or postponed, due proof of the publication or posting of the required notice as set out in 27-31-201 being made, such application must be heard. On the hearing the court or judge may examine on oath any of the petitioners, remonstrants, or other persons touching the application. History: En. Sec. 2263, C. Civ. Proc. 1895; re-en. Sec. 7363, Rev. C. 1907; amended. Sec. 2, Ch. 7, L. 1911; re-en. Sec. 9966, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 9966, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 93-100-4 (part).

27-31-204. Court order. The court or judge may make an order changing the name or dismissing the applications, as to the court or judge may seem right and proper.

 

Precedent for transsexuals

[no specific case noted]