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Virginia 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.
From a reader in March 2007, who had prevously done a common law name change. Her original note:
I began transitioning at 24 years old, and found that it was quite easy to pass after only a short time on hormones. I began living my new life almost immediately. A year had gone by before I started thinking about updating my various form of identification. By that time, I was PETRIFIED at the thought of being outed by the name change process.... so I changed my name through common law.
(March 2007 follow-up)
I'm sorry for the late response, but I wanted to take a minute and let you know how things turned out with my name change quandary. Ironically, It turns out that Virginia doesn't require a court appearance or any public notice for an name change, so my reason for putting this off all these years was mute. Anyway, all I needed to do was fill out a one page form, have it notarized and submit it to the circuit court clerk. I was worried that since I had already changed all my ID's to my new name through use of common law statutes, I would never be able to file an official petition (can't change your name to your name sort of thing). Anyway, Virginia's petition form allows for the petitioner of the court to be a different name than the name of the person changing their name. It read sort of like, "I, [petitioner] request that [old name] be changed to [new name] sworn and signed [petitioner]. The document doesn't make any link between the petitioner and the name change person. Since the person signing the form is the petitioner, but not necessarily the person having a name change, I was able to use my current name and ID to file the papers. I didn't have to provide any information beyond that. I don't know if this is a loop hole or intentionally provided for just such a situation, but the court ordered the change and the official copy arrived in the mail in under a week!
In June 2006, a reader sent this:
Virginia has not only gone high-tech (electronic forms), but also now only has a single form to fill in, with questions on the form to categorize them instead of having the 4 individual forms like before. All of the gender-specific terms have been removed, and you also no longer have to state a reason for the name change. You just fill in the form with the information as it appears on your birth certificate and click on the "Print for submission to court" button at the top of the form when you are done. You then head over to the Clerk of the Circuit Court and sign it in front of them and have them acknowledge your signature (you can go to a Notary Public, but you'll have to submit the form to the circuit court clerk anyway, so rather just kill two birds with one stone).
In February 2004 a reader sent the following:
ONLY If this is you first name change and you do NOT have a felony conviction
then you can use [this form] - outdated link.
The forms are as follows:
(This is Virginia... YOU figure out why they have to have four seperate forms!)
This particular legislation was written back in the day when the typewriter
was the newest state of the art in document perpetrations, long before photo
copiers were even dreamed of, so this form has to be "typewritten."
Don't worry about where do I find a typewriter, just copy the form and take
it home or to the library and reproduce it on a computer with the right data
Once done, your signature on it has to be notarized before filing. When you
have finished with all this simply take the completed and notarized form back
to the Clerk of the Court for your City or County and hand it to them with thirty
one dollars cash.
From a reader in July 2005:
I recently submitted my name change form here in Virginia. It cost $34 and you need to have 4 copies with you. That is, for the first time name change, with no legal issues of any kind.
Virginia State law
Precedent for transsexuals
[no specific case noted]