Campaign for Southern Equality (southernequality.org)
- Excellent Trans in the South resource guide
Some Florida readers have had problems getting their names changed. Please review the comments below.
National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)
- ID Documents Center | Florida
Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org)
Williams Institute (williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu)
World Professional Association of Transgender Health (wpath.org)
- Member search: Florida
A reader writes in September 2003
I along with four other T’s in the Duval County area (Jacksonville, FL) have changed our names with the Duval County Courthouse in the past three years.
Two of us in the past six months.
I have a link that they (Law Library in Courthouse) have printed on the checkoff list for all forms and other documents required. Link is:
From what I can see Florida has standardized the forms to be used by all county courts. Now here in Duval County it is only $92.50 for the filing fee at this time. Depending on the family court case load it can take from 6 weeks to two – three months for the hearing and then two more weeks for the filing.
Unless you have luck like mine. I filed on 9/25/02 and it was not until 11/22/02 before they did the first review for all required documents. Of couse they said that they needed another document which I gave them within two weeks. Finally in Jan of 03 received a letter for the hearing date. Attended the hearing and was awarded the name change by the Grand Master. Then it took until 04/16/03 before the judge signed the order. Then they lost my file or something because it was not until 03/24/03 that they filed the order then not until 04/06/03 to get my certified copy. So it took me about six and a half months to complete my name change. Now the other girls around two and a half months.
A reader writes in July 2003:
Florida, Palm Beach County
Went to the court house library, and purchased the proper packet & form [Form 915], and just said I wished to change my name from * * * to __ __ __. Just dated it, and signed it.
On the second page, were couple questions related that you were not doing this for fraud, listed off a couple of past residences, and signed that it was true.
Then walked over the Clerk of the Court, showed my drivers license, as an ID. Paid about $ 300 for process.
Filed on December 5th, court processed on December 10th. A couple days later, I received the completed signed form in the mail. All legal, and binding.
I was surprised how simple it was.
A reader writes in October 2003:
Equality Florida (http://www.eqfl.org ) has a name change kit for download. It takes
about 90 seconds to download and is a single document in Wordpad format. It includes pretty much anything you would need.
Hope that helps.
A reader writes in December 2003:
My Name is Lily and I work as a Paralegal in the state of Florida. I have talk to the Attorney regarding the issue of the name change for any transgender in need of legal guide.
Attorney Name: Steven M. Busch.
Our office Number (954)-925-8080.
Ask for Lily or Steven.
Please feel free to call so we can help.
A reader wites in December 2003:
Just a quick note to tell you about my name change process in early January of 2003. I had it done in NW Florida, Santa Rosa County to be exact. I downloaded the forms off the state web site, filled them out, filed them with the clerk of court, & paid my $90. I had the clerk hold off on sending them before the judge, as I was trying to avoid my wife at the time embarrassment in the divorce we were going through. The same day as our uncontested divorce hearing, she sent them in front of a different judge. I didn’t have to appear before that judge for the name change or have a hearing, he just signed them off. I got the copies the same day, & had my Drivers Licence & SS card changed that afternoon. Very easy process considering the redneck mentality of that area. It might be different now, as my ex & I had a legal battle in front of that same judge, & he showed his bigotry towards me by not allowing me to present my case, or submit evidence of my ex’s perjury in her accusations.
A reader wites in April 2005:
Now onto my name change, my hearing was yesterday and did not go at all like I had planned. Since I used your website as a resource I felt that you and others should be notified of my personal experience. My intent is to help people understand that the process may appear to be simple (Which was my impression after reading another Floridian’s post about her experience.).
After filling out the slew of legal forms including being fingerprinted and paying the $255 filling fee. I was delighted to receive a letter in the mail shortly after with a hearing date only a few months out. I was told not to expect my court date any less than 4 months from filing. I started preparing all of my documentation to update my social security card, drivers’ license, and passport after my hearing as I am preparing to travel to Thailand soon for SRS.
I showed for my hearing with approximately 30people who were divorcing. Florida considers a name change to be family law. I quietly waited in the back of the courtroom for my name to be called, about an hour and a half later. I was the last case so I was less nervous about people hearing my born name which did not fit my appearance. However, there were still people in the courtroom awaiting their documentation for child support or divorce… So when I was called, I approached the stand and was sworn to tell the truth the whole truth… I am sure everyone knows how it goes. The judge then reviewed my drivers’ license and birth certificate and asked why I wanted to change my name from my born male name to my chosen feminine name. As I started to explain some of the other people in the courtroom started to laugh amongst themselves. At that point the judge cut me off and told everyone to leave the court room immediately. She asked everyone to leave with the exception of the bailiff and the court reporter. I actually thought that she had some compassion at this point. Nevertheless I continued to explain why I wanted to change my name. She then asked me why did I want to change my name from a masculine name to a feminine name as I was born “Male”. I was shocked; I did not expect her to ask this question as I thought it was obvious from my appearance. She then proceeded to ask me if I had undergone any procedures to alter my gender. I explained that I had been on HRT for 3 years and have been working on this most of my natural life. She again cut me off and asked more bluntly if I had had SRS. I told her that I have not; however thinking that it would help my case I explained to her that I have an appointment scheduled for August to undergo that procedure. From that moment on, she did not want to hear or see any documentation from my GP, therapist, scheduled SRS surgeon or anything else about my case at all. She explained that she had an obligation to not allow name changes in the event to defraud others. My jaw hit the floor! I was amazed to hear that she felt that I was defrauding people because I wanted to change my male name to a female name. I could not believe what my ears were hearing… How can this be? I live in a somewhat large city, I personally many others who have done this without any problems whatsoever. Most of which didn’t even have a hearing. The judge simply waived the right to a hearing if the petitioner would sign an affidavit stating that they were not changing there name for fraudulent reason. How could this be? I have near perfect credit; I have never even had a speeding ticket, in fact in my earlier life I was even a corrections officer for the state! I own my own home, which I built nearly 5 years ago. How could this woman accuse me of trying to defraud anyone?!?! Was it because she was not aware of my true gender until she looked at my file and somehow felt betrayed? I still do not have the answer to this question. I gathered my belongings and proceeded to walk out the court room, when she stopped me and told me to re-file my name change once I had completed SRS and had proof that it was completed.
I am still in awe over what occurred, and her justification. As I stated earlier, I know may other women in my situation in my very own county who have had no problem whatsoever with any name change proceedings. I am not lawyer; however it states nothing in the statuette that a transsexual must have SRS in order to have a name change. Realistically speaking, I can legally change my name to “Pooper Scooper” if I wanted to, as long as I wasn’t doing to evade or defraud anyone. I just do not see how changing my name to match my physical appearance is considered to be fraudulent.
I have since hired an attorney to assist with having her ruling overturned. My attorney stated that she is a bit of a “Hard Ass”, and is fairly new to the “Judge Club”. I am also discussing what can be done to prevent this sort of thing happening to other transsexuals that wish to change their name in the same county. Of course, there isn’t much that can be done as far as discrimination, but at the least I hope to educate the judges in my county that appearing different then what your identification marker says on your license does NOT mean that someone is trying to commit fraud.
I will keep you posted if you would like. I just felt that others in my area should know what actually may happen if they get assigned a poorly educated judge with regard to transsexuals.
Follow up from 22 May 2005
Hello again. I wanted to update you on my name change.
My attorney called me earlier in the week notifying me that he has completed his due diligence and that he was attempting to schedule another hearing. A few days later he phoned me with the new court date and where to me him prior to the hearing. I was excited that this process had only taken about 5 weeks from being denied to having another hearing… Now that everything was scheduled, I was eagerly awaiting the new hearing date. My attorney phoned me the day after providing me with the new hearing information. To my surprise, he said that he received a call from the judge’s assistant. Who stated that the judge consulted with her legal assistant and decided to approve my name change. I was shocked to hear that it was finally over with…. The judge mailed me a copy of the final judgment with a copy of my certified name change the following day. She even mailed it to my “New” name…
I would like to offer the attorney’s information as a resource to your massive site. He deals with TS, Gay, and Lesbian issues in the state of Florida. He is very reasonable priced, and very genuine.
Byrd Legal Counsel, PA
813-876-4019 or 1-866-KIM-BYRD
A reader writes in June 2006:
I drove downtown to the “13th Judicial Circuit Court” building (http://www.fljud13.org/). The line wasn’t too long for Family Court filings but I still stood there for a good bit. I got to the teller window and I turned my paper work in and was informed that I needed finger prints as well. I was like huh? I was never told this on the phone when I called. So anyway, she was like, you can still file the application but just bring us a set of your finger prints. I paid the cashier and was on my way. I had to provide a copy of my birth certificate, driver’s license and the application.
I figure on Monday, I’ll drive downtown to the Police department, get finger printed and run them over to the courthouse. It cost me $267.00 to file the change of name in Hillsborough County. $255.00 for the name change fee and $12.00 for sealing the change of name to the Office of Vital Statistics and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. I’ll be contacted by mail of a court date after the “Case Management Unit” reviews my file. So far, step 1 complete… Yay!
[1 month later]
I woke up at 7:00 AM. I took the day off from work so I could make it down to the court house at 9:00 AM for my hearing. I showered, made myself up all pretty and put on the outfit I bought last night just for this occasion.
___ came with me for some friendly support. We found a parking spot in the closest parking deck and walked over to the 13th Judicial Circuit Courthouse. We arrived a few minutes late but that’s OK. The judge didn’t make an appearance till a half hour later, at 9:30 AM. It was a small court room but was full by the time we got there. Tori and I sat apart for awhile because of the limited seating but later sat together when some cases were cleared.
Judge __ __ was to hear my petition for name change. I was the second to last case to be heard. Since I was in Family Court, it was mainly marriage divorces. I might have been the only name change but there was one woman after me which I did not hear what her case was about. He went through each case in about 4 minutes time. I was finally called upon after like 15-20 minutes.
He called my case by my last name, as he did each of the others. He asked me if I resided in Hillsborough County, I said yes; He asked me if my petition was for any illegal purposes, I said no; He asked me if I was changeing my name to ___ … and spelled out my new full name and asked if that was correct, I said yes. He then wished me good luck and I said thank you and I stepped down to sign the final judgement with his assistant or clerk.
He was so nice. He never used my previous boy name, he never called me Mr. or Sir. The only name he used was my last name in calling me and my new full name for verification. There wouldn’t have been a single person that would have known I was trans if I had been called early and had a full court room. I was all nervous for nothing. I had thought about what I’d say if he asked me why I wanted to change my name. He asked all the others why they wanted a divorce. I thought, I’d say: “I am a transgender female and would like a name that is appropriate for my gender.” I never had to say that.
I then followed the Court Clerk downstairs with everyone else to get certified copies of the final judgment. It was one of the most painless experiences I have experienced. I am so happy and so excited. I consider this my second milestone in transition, with starting HRT being the first. Yay me!!!
A reader writes in October 2006:
As someone that has undergone the trial (literally) of changing their name within the last few months in the state of Florida, I might as well share what i learned from my experience.
The things you need:
1) Call the non-emergency number to the sheriff’s office and ask where to go to get fingerprints done. Its a free service. When you get there, tell the nice person at the counter its for a name change, and they’ll provide you a card. Don’t wear a light colored shirt or blouse when you go. I got a bit of the black tar-like ink on mine.
2) Hit the web and find a copy of florida family law forms 12.982a and 12.982b. Either find one of the name change kits, or go to flcourts.org and get the latest ones. They do get updated from time to time, and the kit I had originally found was outdated, and the form old. The kit also failed to mention things like fingerprints.
3) Get your credit report. You’ll need this. It’s free and you should check it regularly anyway.
4) Using your memory and credit report (if you’ve lived in as many places as me, you may need the help), fill out the family law forms. If you have ever been arrested, even if thrown out, I suggest listing it where it asks. Be THOROUGH. Yes, takes a while to fill out.
5) Somehow aquire about $275. It was $255 + a few small fees working out to about $270, and parking ran me $5 (I hung out downtown a while). They take cash or check at the courthouse.
Now, head down to the county courthouse. Find the new family law line. Tell them you want to set up a name change. They take all the paperwork, and give you a court date. I requested a copy of the forms for my sake.
Took me 8 weeks to get in to the courtroom. Be patient. Once you’re in, basically wait until the judge calls you. General courtroom etiquette, be polite and courteous. They will ask if you’ve ever had your name change before and why you want it now. Truth is obviously the best course of action.
They will then decide if its ok or not. While I sat there, the judge approved other’s names such as Sky, three people changing their name to muslim sounding ones that I don’t remember (and no, not being prejudice here.. my sis’s new name is J___ .. I am talking from experience), and yes, a guy in florida is now actually named ROFL FTW.
They’ll ask to verify your license/ID card, then hand you your documents. I was told I may wait outside for my free certified copy. I asked politely if I could sit in the gallery, and was told that’s fine. Stick around where ever you feel comfortable, for your free certified copy. I got 2, one to use at the DMV, and another as a backup.
Now head down to the local DMV, and if asked, you want to ammend your name. The one I went to put me in a different line and I got right in. Show them your court order that ‘Old Name shall from hence forth be known as New Name’. They will update it, which gives you a new license number. Your record goes along with, so this doesn’t get you out of tickets.
Next stop, social security office. Grab the form when you come in, and fill it out. I made the mistake of waiting in line first. I had to wait twice. They’ll update it all nice and neat, and no, this number stays the same. They’ll give you a letter to use if need be, and you’ll get it in the mail in a few days.
Now, write a letter to EVERY creditor listed in your credit report. Send a copy of the final judgement, along with a photocopy of the new licence. If you don’t want to mail them, contact every company and get a fax number. If you don’t do this, it is technically a felony. Legally you have 10 days to do this.
Now, as per amended birth certificate. It, to my knowledge, is a $20 fee in florida. I can’t tell you for sure, as I was born in [another state]. I call the court house, told them I had my name legally changed, they had me fax the paperwork, and they fax’d back a new one for me without me paying a cent. Either I got lucky, or I well played off the fact I can’t easily come to the courthouse 1100 miles away.
Now, all that said and done, when you go back to work, you’ll need the letter from social security, your licence, and final judgement. Give a copy of each to the correct human resources person, and fill out a new I9 and W4. Unless you just got married, you don’t have a maiden name. You just simply have your name. No aka’s, nothing. Just the new name.
Now that I have my new name, I use my middle name in guy mode, and when I go girl mode, will use my first.