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“Nonbinary” Is an Official Legal Gender Designation in California

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Nonbinary Name and Gender Changes have been officially available in California’s Superior Courts since September 1, 2018. The state of California, has by law, officially designated a gender category that is neither female or male. It is Nonbinary.  

Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 179 into law on October 15, 2017, to create a new nonbinary gender designation in California and for all types of California state IDs. There were provisions within this law that Petitions for Nonbinary Name and Gender changes could start to be filed starting on September 2, 2018. The new law was signed by Governor Brown in 2017. This extra time provided all of the various courts and administrative agencies the necessary time for revising instructions, ID templates, and forms and to provide the necessary training for implementing this new law. Starting on January 1, 2019, the DMV and other California ID agencies were required to start providing gender options. 

Residents of California can now Petition for Change of Name and Gender, and choose their gender as Nonbinary. For legal purposes, they also can take on a new name, selected by the Petitioner that respects their gender identity. In the past, only female to male or male to female was available in the Name and Gender Petition court forms. This new category had been established earlier by Landmark Name Change cases. However, no other choices were allowed on Judicial Council-approved forms until this law.

If your gender identity is neither female nor male, the state of California allows you to be yourself legally. If you would like to change your name in order to be in conformity with your gender identity or want to change your Name and Gender, you can start the legal process to make that happen now. The state of California has made this possible, more accessible and fairly quick to do. Our lives are already complicated enough. It’s nice when there are aspects of our lives which are made easier. 

User-Friendly Nonbinary Name and Gender Change   

Less Expensive: You do not need to have or pay for a physician’s declaration or letter any longer. You do not have to pay to have a notice of your Hearing published. If you cannot afford to pay for certified copy or filing fees, you can apply to obtain a Fee Waiver. 

Easier: You do not need to get a physician statement or medical treatment that documents your treatment.  It is not necessary to attend a Hearing unless a legitimate written object is filed by someone to grant your Petition. It is more accessible for a non-lawyer, non-doctor to convince a judge about what your gender is. 

Faster: The standard name change laws require at least 6 weeks for your Petition to be processed, and usually courts’ schedules are even longer, in order to allow for the publication that is required. With these new parts of the law, you are not required to publish, and you can be scheduled at the 6-week mark, although it is up to every court to schedule in accordance with their caseload priorities overall. 

Flexible: You can either apply for a Name and Gender change or just a name change. You can also further designate, with a name change only, that this change is to is for conforming your New Name with your gender identity. For Name and Gender change, you can change from female to nonbinary or male to nonbinary. From female to male, or male to female, is also still fine. 

Costs for Nonbinary Name and Gender Change 

The costs vary for Nonbinary Name and Gender Changes, depending on what county you live in. The highest part of the costs is the Court filing and processing charges. The cost for filing will range from $435 to $480, depending on which county you live in currently. That charge may be waived by the court if you qualify due to low income (if you cannot afford to pay the court filing costs, you can ask us for the court fee waiver forms).   

Costs for petition preparation range from zero up to thousands of dollars.  If you decide to do everything on your own, you will only need to spend your time but not any money. Plan on it taking 10 to 20 hours. The charges of Name Change Services (non-lawyers) range from $30 up to $400. There are some Services that just provide the Forms and might not be knowledgeable about the most current forms or processes in the state of California. Some services only provide blank forms, and others will fill them out for you. there is also one Specialist that provides a Full Service for $190. Lawyers charge $500 to $3,5000 for the same services. 

Typical Total Costs – Name and Gender Change or Name Change Only 

Full Service: $670 ($235 for Petition, Filing & Approval/Decision, $435 court) (typical prices – costs might be a bit more in some counties) 

$235 (with court approval of Fee Waiver) 

What Can Go Wrong with Nonbinary Name and Gender Changes?

The main obstacle to being successful in obtaining this very important personal life change is not getting started. Many people have a tendency to put things off. After all, it is human nature. Something like this can be very intimidating, making it easy to postpone. It is also not free, automatic, or simple. However, it has also never been more accessible and available. So if it is something you really want, then get started. 

If you don’t fill out the forms completely or properly or don’t do it in the right court, then it won’t work. The courts have all of the new Instructions and Forms They are available at all of California’s Superior Courthouses. There are also attorneys, name change specialists and services that can assist you online or you can do online searches for name change assistance.

Your Petition can be sunk by Unresolved Criminal History, even if you do everything else properly. If you have an unresolved criminal history (you have outstanding warrants, owe restitution, or are on probation or parole), we recommend that you get those things cleared up before getting started on the Petition process. 

Even in the state of California, Nonbinary Name and Gender Changes are fairly new. Therefore, it is possible for judges and court clerks to make mistakes. Lawyers and private agencies also might not be familiar with all of the new procedures, forms, and rues to ensure this done successfully. When you are getting Name Change assistance, ask questions to determine if the individual helping you have the appropriate experience and can help you through the entire process Check review sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. 

One reputable and experienced service is EZNameChange.com. The service has many years of experience assisting with Trans Name and Gender Changes. All they do is Name and Gender Changes and Legal Names Changes for California residents. They are Specialists in the field. You can do a Name and Gender Change or Name Change on your own if you wish. If you just want to ask a few questions, they will be happy to assist you. Or if you prefer, they can handle the entire process for you.