File a petition to get a court order recognizing your gender and changing your name

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

    Find the superior court in the county where you live. If there are different locations, check your court’s website, talk to your Self-Help Center, or find the closest court to you 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.

    At the courthouse, file the forms you filled out by giving the original and the copies to the clerk.

    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 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee (or request for fee waiver) 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 your signed order

    The clerk will give the filed forms to a judge. The judge will then make a decision after a 6 week waiting period. Ask the clerk how you can pick up your name change and gender recognition order signed by the judge

    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 will have to give a copy of your Petition, form NC-100 and the NC-110 attachment 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.

Name change and gender recognition

What's next?

Once you’ve filed your forms, your next step is to pick up a signed order.

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