File the petition to recognize your gender change

Once you complete your forms, you need to file them with the court and pay a filing fee. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it.

How to file forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk

    If you live in California, go to the court in any county

    File the forms in any superior court. It can be the court in the county where you live or work but doesn't have to be. Find a court where civil cases are filed. 

    If you live out of state, you typically file in the county that issued the certificate you want to change. Get more information about where to file if you live out of state.

    Give the court clerk your forms

    At the courthouse, give the court clerk the original and the copies of your forms. The clerk will stamp the forms, keep the original and return the copies to you.

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and one copy to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee (or fee waiver request) and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. Make sure to include enough postage. If you do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope, you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies.

    Some courts allow online filing (called e-filing). You can find out if your court has online filing on your court's website.


  • Pay a filing fee

    You’ll need to pay a fee of $435-$450 to the clerk when you file your forms.

    If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the clerk for a fee waiver. You may qualify for a fee waiver if:

    • You receive public benefits
    • Your income is less than a set amount
    • You can’t afford the fee and meet your basic needs
  • Ask the clerk how to get a copy of the signed order

    Find out how to pick up a copy of the signed order after the 6-week waiting period. 

    You must wait for 6 weeks to see if anyone objects to your request. If no one files a written objection within 6 weeks, your request will be granted without a court hearing. The judge will sign the order recognizing your change of gender.

    In some cases, you may have one more step before a judge can make a decision (called serving court papers): 

    If you asked to change your bride or groom designation and your spouse did not sign the NC-312, you will have more steps after you file your forms. Learn more
    If your spouse did not sign the NC-312, and they are alive and capable of signing, the judge will sign an Order to Show Cause (form NC-325) that tells your spouse about your request and that they can file a written objection within 6 weeks of the date the Order to Show Cause is filed with the court, which will be stamped in the upper right-hand corner of the form. You must have a copy of that order along with a copy of your Petition delivered to them so they get a chance to respond. This is called serving court papers. Get step-by-step instructions on how to serve your spouse.


    If you are in jail or prison, or on parole, you must give a copy of your Petition, form NC-300 to:
    • If you are in state prison, have the warden notified. Ask the warden's office how.
    • If you are in county jail, have the county sheriff’s department notified. Ask the sheriff’s office how.
    • If you are on parole, notify the regional parole administrator of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Ask the administrator’s office how.

    Get step-by-step instructions on how to notify the jail, prison, or CDCR.


    To file an objection, someone would have to first know about your request, which generally requires looking up your court records. If you're changing your gender designation on your marriage record and your spouse did not sign the petition with you, they too will be notified of your request and can object. If someone objects, they could file an objection, but only for "good cause." Good cause means there's a valid legal reason to disagree with your request.

    If someone does file an objection, the judge may set a court date (a hearing).  At the hearing, you will have a chance to respond to the objection. If the judge does set a court date, you will get a notice in the mail with the court date and time. 


What's next?

Once you’ve filed your forms, you must wait 6 weeks to see if anyone files a written objection. If not, the judge will sign your request.

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