National Center for Transgender Equality (transequality.org)
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Williams Institute (williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu)
Pride Center of Vermont (pridecentervt.org)
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I got this in June 2008:
VT name changes go through probate court; there’s one in every county. The form is available online at http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/court-forms and is quite short – no lawyers. Once you’ve completed it you bring it into probate court along with a certified birth certificate and a photo ID, pay the filing fee, and sign the form in front of the register. That’s it – one trip, no appointment with the judge, and no questions about why you want to change it. You could do the whole thing in one day.
Within a few days they’ll mail you two certified copies of the Order Changing Name (I filed the petition on Thursday and received the order on Saturday). The DMV is no longer informed automatically; you have to notify them yourself within 30 days by submitting this form http://www.aot.state.vt.us/dmv/documents/TA/VL/Tavl015.pdf along with a certified court order. Also, assuming you’re born in VT, after 30 days you can contact the city/town clerk of the place where you were born to change your birth certificate. Unfortunately, VT only issues amended birth certificates – they strike out your old name and insert the new name above it, but your old name is still visible.
I was not required to publish a legal notice in the newspaper. I’m not sure if this is no longer done, or if I escaped that requirement because I had just turned 18 and have no spouse or dependents.
I got this in June 2008 as well:
I had my name changed in Essex VT. You can make an appointment ahead of time, so that you can get everything done in one day in theory. You show up, meet the judge. He will ask you questions, and you tell him your info. You have to surrender your birth certificate here. It doesn’t matter where you were born. They will give you your name change court order on the spot. Also asks for your social security number. By the way, you also do not need to list anything in the newspaper or send out any notices.
In September 2003 a reader sent the following:
Legal name change is very easy and inexpensive in VT. I went through it about 8 months ago. NO LAWYERS NEEDED!!!!
Contact county court clerk. I did this by phone. They mailed me a simple form which I filled out (current name, requested name, married?, minor children?) and sent back with the $35 fee. If you are married or have minor children, there may be additional notices required.
Within a week they scheduled me an appointment with the judge, which was within another week or so.
I went in, met with the judge in her chambers. I went en femme, but I don’t know if it mattered. She asked me if I was of sound mind, and signed the request. Took five minutes.
I then had to publish a legal notice (in a from provided to me by the court) for two consecutive weeks in a local paper OR IN A PAPER IN AN ADJOINING COUNTY. (Some people may prefer this. I did) This cost about $40.
The paper sent “tearouts” of the published notice to the Court, and the court promptly sent me two certified copies of the name change. Additional certified copies cost $5 each, but photocopies suffice for notifying banks, etc.
Whole thing took about two months, but most of this was the fact that the paper messed up on prompt publication. Thoretically it could be done in closer to a month.
There were absolutely no hassles of any kind.
The court automatically notifies other state agencies of the change (tax dept, DMV, etc.) I still had to go in for a new Driver’s License with a new photo. DMV would not change my gender to “F” without a surgeon’s letter. All my vehicle registration renewal notices have arrived in my new name.
If I had been born in VT, they would also have automatically issued an amended birth certificate.