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Legal Name and Gender Change in Arkansas
Transgender Equality Network
If you would like more hands on help, visit us at our booth during Pride or attend our Trans Day of Visibility Event for our free, hands-on, name and gender change clinic. We recommend that you do your name change and gender marker change updates separately. The main reason to do so, is that you can to go through the name change process without fear of discrimination or harassment, because you can change your name without stating you are transgender. It’s completely unnecessary to state that you are transgender and it may complicate the process.
Where should I start?
The first thing you need to make sure to do is get your Court Order for Name Change Document. The outline below will guide you on how to obtain this document. The Order for Name Change document is needed to process all of your name changes for social security, I.D.s, Passports and Birth Certificates.
NOTE: Remember to print these out single sided. They will not take it otherwise.
Order for Name Change:
0. Preliminary Step: (Optional). Optional Fee Waiver (Low Income):
Changing your name in Arkansas costs $165. If you cannot afford this, and you think you might qualify as someone with low income, fill out this document first and bring it into the County Clerk's office for them to process. They will not require any other documents at this time.This usually takes about a week to process. If approved, you can move forward with the name change without paying the court fees.
1. Fill out your AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS (IFP Affidavit)
This is the document that will go in front of the Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis to verify your income.
- Fill out the document to the best of your ability up until the Signature of Petitioner line. Leave the Signature of Petitioner section blank. You will need to sign the document in front of the notary.
- Bring this document to your bank and ask for a Notary. They will direct you to someone who can sign, notarize and stamp the document for you for free. (If you don’t have a bank, the Circuit Clerk's office might have free notary services.)
- They will guide you through the process and have you sign the document.
- This completes your first item.
2. Next you need to fill out your Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (IFP Order).
- Anything to do with the courts you can leave blank. When you bring these documents to the Circuit Clerk's office, they can help fill those sections in. (I.E. In the _____ Court of _____ County; Case No. etc.)
- After “COMES NOW the plaintiff” please put your current legal name.
- On the first line after the number “1” write “Petition for Gender Change”
- Sign the bottom and add your address and phone number.
3. Take these two filled out documents to your local Circuit Clerk's Office. They will call you or send you a letter saying you were approved, or not, for the fee waiver. Once that happens you can start the First Step.
The Cover Sheet is the way in which the court tracks and organizes the different cases. If you have questions on how best to fill this out the Circuit Clerk can help you.
- Fill in the Following Information on the top section of the document:
- County: Your County, Filing Date: 00/00/0000, Type of Case: (OM) Civil, Other
Fill in the Following Information in the Plaintiff Section:
- Last name, First Name, Driver’s License/State ID, Address, City/State ZIP, Phone,. Email, Self-Represented:YES, DOB, and Interpreter Needed
- Write or check (MFO) Original under Manner of Filing.
- Leave everything else blank.
- This completes your first item. Hold onto this and move on to the Second Step.
- Second Step: You need to fill out a Petition for Change of Name (Petition-and-Order-for-Name-Change).
The petition exists to mark the reasoning why you would like your name to be changed. We recommend not mentioning your transition status, as it is not needed to change your name.
1. Fill out the document as we have it laid out here:
PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME
The Petitioner, Legal First, Middle and Last Name, hereby states;
Petitioner is over the age of 18 years and is a resident of County Name County, Arkansas.
2. Petitioner wishes to change his/her name because _____________.
a. If you are not changing your gender at the same time: (Something along the lines of) This is my preferred name that I’ve been using for years.
b. If you are changing your gender at the same time: I am updating my name to align my new name and my gender identity.
Therefore, she/her would like to be henceforth known as New First, Middle and Last Name.
WHEREFORE, petitioner requests that an order to be entered changing his/her name from
Legal First, Middle and Last Name to New First Middle and Last Name.
- Sign the line below and fill in the verification section.
- This completes your second item. Hold onto this and move on to the Third Step.
- Third Step: You need to fill out an Order for Change of Name (Same Link as Above).
The Order for Change of Name differs from the petition in that this will be filled out, when it is approved, by the judge. Although the document states you will appear in court. You most likely will not. Remember, they deal with name changes all the time for divorces and marriages and often will just approve the order without the need for a court appearance. However, If you decide to do the name and gender change at the same time, you might have to appear in court.
- Fill out the document as we have it laid out here:ORDER FOR NAME CHANGEOn this date, the petition of FULL LEGAL NAME is presented…IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the petitioner’s name be changed from
FULL LEGAL NAME to FULL NEW NAME and the petitioner shall hereinafter be known as FULL NEW NAME, and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that he/she shall sue and be sued, plead and be impleased by the name FULL NEW NAME.
- Leave the rest of the document blank.
- This completes your final item. Follow the Fourth Step to get the signed version of the Order for Name Change.
- Fourth Step: Take the three documents to the Circuit Clerk's Office.
- You need to have a copy of your Cover Sheet, Petition for Change of Name and your Order for Change of Name documents. (We recommend making a copy to bring, so you can keep the originals.)
- Fourth Step: Take the three documents to the Circuit Clerk's Office.
- Either bring cash or a check for $165 with you or skip this step if you have the fee waived.
- Take these documents to your Circuit Clerk’s office for your county.
- They will process the documents and notify you if the court approved your order. You can pick up your documents and ask for a few certified copies of the document to be used later.
Now that you have the court order to change your name, you may now begin updating your name in all of the other federal systems. Start with the Social Security Office as a new Social Security Card is needed to update the others.
Coming Soon: Name Change for Social Security
Coming Soon: Name Change for Driver's License/ Federal I.D.
Coming Soon: Name Change for Passport
Coming Soon: Name Change for Birth Certificate
Coming Soon: Gender Marker Change Guide