This blog post is long overdue. My apology for losing track of this important update for our TransFamiles. Last November 2017, Anne Lipman and I met with representatives at the Law Library of the Santa Cruz Superior Court to discuss how we can make information given to families more consistent when they are seeking legal name and/or gender change through the court. What follows are Anne's excellent notes from that meeting.
April 4, 2018
April 4, 2018
Notes for Meeting on November 8, 2017
Santa Cruz County Superior Court Law Library
Sasha Morgan and Renee Fleming of the Law Library
Anne Lipman and Dina Oskiera of TransFamilies of Santa Cruz
Self Help Center in Watsonville or the Law Library in Santa Cruz is the best place to start with the process of pursuing a legal name and/or gender change through the courts. Both can provide forms ($2.00 charge), and help you fill out forms but the Self Help Center in Watsonville is more comprehensive. Show up 1/2 hour before opening in the morning and at lunch for faster service, but plan on going when you are not in a hurry. You are encouraged to stay and fill out forms there, so bring along as much info as possible to help you with forms (birth certificate, Dr’s letter, Therapist letter, etc.) If you don’t know where to start then go and talk with them, and they can help you figure out which forms you need. You may need to go several times before all forms are filled out. Just think of it as part of the process. Keep in mind Watsonville offers free copies of documents, Santa Cruz charges for copies.
Go to one of the above offices as your first step. Do not take forms directly to the clerks to file because they do not know the law as well as the people in these two centers. When you do go to the clerks to file, and you feel you are getting the wrong advice, again, consult with Self Help Center or Law Library. They can intervene on your behalf and get things straightened out for you with clerks. There will soon be up to 6 forms to choose from for gender identity and name change. We highly encourage you to go talk with someone before you start to fill out the forms, so you get the right forms.
Sometimes forms can be accepted by the clerk, but are not filled in correctly. This can cause you trouble down the road such as when you go to get a passport or go to change your birth certificate. Fees can be waived even if you do not meet the criteria for wavers on the paperwork. Families can list their expenses to show that that they do not have the money for fees. This may require a little more paperwork but the court does not want anyone to delay this important process because they cannot afford it. Ask if you need help. They will help you!
The law and forms are ever changing. What I did for my child last year may not apply today. We can support you and guide you, but we cannot necessarily tell you what the exact law is or forms needed for each individual case. Only the Help Center or Law Library can truly give you the most up to date info. If you go and then delay filling in the paperwork, make sure to check in with them again before you submit so you can confirm that no forms have changed.
Important websites below:
Latest Changes: http://www.courts.ca.gov/3020.htm
Self Help Center, Watsonville: http://www.santacruzcourt.org/self-help
Law Library, Santa Cruz: http://www.lawlibrary.org/
Santa Cruz Superior Court
Director of Operations
1 Second Street
Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone (831) 786-7335