As a transgender person, I understand firsthand that transition can often be a worrisome and scary experience. Legally changing your name is no different and brings its own concerns. However, I recently went through the process with Knox County Chancery Court, and they put my anxiety and fears to ease by being respectful and handling the entire matter on my behalf. If you are considering legally changing your name, use this step-by-step guide:
Collect these documents:
· Social Security Card
· Birth Certificate
· Driver's License or other photo ID
· Any court documents that might impact your name, such as a divorce judgment or marriage certificate
· A check for the filing fee (Currently $232 in Knox County Chancery Court and subject to change. Contact the Clerk and Master to make sure before you go!)
Call the Clerk and Master at (865) 215-2555. The court clerks will fill out the paperwork for you and guide you through the process. You will have to appear at a hearing where a judge with either grant or deny your petition. The court clerks will schedule this hearing for you.
After you get the order, send it to the Tennessee Office of Vital Records at 710 James Roberson Parkway, Nashville, Tennessee 37243. Include an application to get a new birth certificate. There is a minimal fee involved. You’ll also want to send a copy to the Social Security Administration and request a new card. Both the Tennessee Office of Vital Records and the Social Security Administration will send you back certified copies.
Use the order to change your name on your other important documents, like your ID and passport. However, Tennessee does not allow you to change your gender marker on your birth certificate. A lawsuit is filed challenging this law.
You can also take a copy of the order to the Knoxville/Strawberry Plains Driver Services and Reinstatement Center to get a new state issued Driver’s License. Note: you will need a letter from your therapist to change the gender marker on the ID/Driver’s License. You will also not be eligible for the Real ID credential until you have updated and received your new Social Security card. At this time, you can register to vote if you have not done so already or update your voter registration.
Also use the order to change your name on bank accounts, credit cards, and insurance policies (especially life insurance). You might want to make a list of all accounts, cards, policies, and other important places where you need to change your name. This will assist you in keeping track of where you’ve sent the order and what you need to do.
We’re here to help!
At Held Law Firm, we believe that you have an absolute right to change your name when you feel it is necessary to match or affirm your identity. We are dedicated and prepared to guide you to better days ahead. With over 50 years of experience, Held Law Firm is the firm you deserve.
We are not only proud to support the LGBTQ+ community, but we are also proud to fight for it. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation. For more information, visit www.heldlawfirm.com.