Name Changes

LGBT Name Changes

Hooray, you’re married, civil union or domestic partners! Now what? One of the most frequent questions a couple is asked after they get married, what will the last name be? Are you combining last names to create a new one? Will one partner take on the other’s last name? The decision may take north of three minutes, but unfortunately, the process takes north of three months.

Even more, LGBT couples who live in states that do recognize same-sex marriage equality and civil unions, such as New Jersey, often in practice don’t have it that much easier. While changing a name on a driver’s license can be done without a problem in such states, changing federal documentation can be trickier. Since the federal government doesn’t recognize the right to same-sex marriage, registering for a name change through the Social Security or Passport office (even with a marriage certificate from a state that allows same-sex marriage!) tends to be “hit and miss.”

For transgender individuals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a new name can mean a new life. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are notorious states for having difficult and cumbersome name change processes. Transgender individuals or same-sex couples seeking legal name changes for reasons other than (heterosexual) marriage, divorce or adoption must file a petition with the Court for the county in which they reside. Transgender individuals and same-sex couples must also submit to a criminal background check and provide proof that they are free from civil judgments. Additionally, transgender individuals and same-sex couples must publish notice of the petition in two local newspapers of general circulation. These requirements create significant barriers for people to navigate, and at Giampolo Law Group, we take the burden off of you.