Court order to recognize gender in California
This guide can help you:
- Understand when you need a court order recognizing gender to update gender markers
- Ask for a court order recognizing your or your child's gender
- Find out where to update your gender marker on your IDs
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The steps and forms you need to fill out vary depending on your situation. Answer a few questions to get the right set of instructions.
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In California, you can ask the court for an order recognizing your or your child's gender (recognizing a change of gender). When you ask for the order, you can ask for a gender marker of female, male, or nonbinary. The process takes about two months.
When you need a court order to update gender markers
You may not need a court order to update a gender marker on identity documents.
California identity documents: You don't need a court order
You do not need a court order to
- Amend a California Birth certificate
- Update a California driver's license
Find out how to update identity documents from each government agency identity.
Out-of-state birth certificates: You may need a court order
Find out what the place that issued your birth certificate requires. The Transgender Law Center has a State-by-State Overview: Changing Gender Markers on Birth Certificates
Federal identity documents: The rules are different at each federal agency
- At this time, you can't get a nonbinary gender marker on federal documents (like in your Social Security records or on a U.S. Passports).
- The Transgender Law Center has a Guide to changing identity documents with different federal agency's requirements.
Steps to get a court order
To start the process, you file forms with the court
You pay a $435-$450 filing fee. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it.
If you’re asking for a court order recognizing your child's gender, your child's other parent may need to get a copy of your request before the judge will make a decision. This is called serving court papers.
A judge will make a decision in about 1 to 2 months
After you get the court order, you can use it to have identity documents updated.
Get a court order recognizing gender
Answer a few questions to get step-by-step information for getting a court order recognizing gender. You can also ask for a name change at the same time.
Find out about name change
Learn more about the name change process if you want to change your or your child's name to match gender identity.
Find out how to update a gender marker on identity documents
Get information about how to update gender markers on identity documents.