Community Conversation > Legal Matters

Do I Need a Lawyer? 🤔

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Ellie_Jean:
Should I get a lawyer to help me with the processes of all the legal mumbo jumbo of changing my name and gender marker on all my documents? I'm wanting to try getting it done discretely as well...meaning, like, NOT having it plastered in all the newspapers for six weeks. ...I'm thinking I might need a lawyer though to convince a judge to have all the records sealed off to the public. Did any of you get a lawyer beforehand? What kind of lawyer? How did you go about it? I'm totally lost on all this adult kinda stuff lol. 😜

sarahc:
If you’d feel more comfortable with a lawyer, then yes. The lawyer may not necessarily enable you to waive the publication requirement (a lot of that comes down to the state/county you live in and the judge you get…), but the lawyer may slightly increase your odds, especially if the lawyer has experience doing name changes.

If you need help affording a lawyer, reach out to the LGBTQ legal advocacy organization in your state or area if there is one. Quite often, these organizations are able to connect you with a lawyer who can work with you on a pro bono basis on a name change. For instance, in my state, Maryland, Freestate Justice provides such services. LGBTQ health centers and PFLAG local affiliates may also be able you to connect you to an attorney.

Sarah

Rakel:
All the required paper work can be filled out by yourself. It is really pretty easy to do and people change their name all the time for any number of reasons.

You do have to go before a county judge which requires an appointment. The county clerk of courts can help with this. The only question I was asked by my judge is "Does the name change have any deception or fraud involved?"

Name changes are a matter of public record and therefor cannot be sealed.

Ellie_Jean:

--- Quote from: sarahc on November 21, 2021, 06:01:00 pm ---If you need help affording a lawyer, reach out to the LGBTQ legal advocacy organization in your state or area if there is one. Quite often, these organizations are able to connect you with a lawyer who can work with you on a pro bono basis on a name change. For instance, in my state, Maryland, Freestate Justice provides such services. LGBTQ health centers and PFLAG local affiliates may also be able you to connect you to an attorney.

--- End quote ---

Thanks so much, Sarah! I'll hafta look into something like that here in the Flathead! 😊

Thinking I probably will want a lawyer to help navigate things; I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to forms and legal stuff and whatnot lol. 😅


--- Quote from: Rakel on November 21, 2021, 09:05:13 pm ---Name changes are a matter of public record and therefor cannot be sealed.

--- End quote ---

Not necessarily true. In many states there's an option to waive disclosure/publication and seal the records off to the public. It's usually a different type of name change form, used by people whose safety would be at risk if their name-change were to be made public. Usually these forms are filled out by women on the run from a psychotic ex-boyfriend, or  some kind of witness protection situation. That's another reason I want to lawyer up in case the judge happens to disagree with me in regards to the fact my safety would indeed be at risk if I had to out myself as trans in the middle of an ultra-religious and conservative cowboy town. ...And that's how I hope to have my records sealed lol! 🤠

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