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New Yorkers, Free To Rename Themselves: A New Law Is A Big Step Forward For Transgender & Non-Binary People

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Dec 27, 2021

This article highlights a new change in New York State Law that has been a long time in coming and is incredibly significant.  It permits anyone, including LGBTQ individuals, to obtain a name change without requiring the Court to require a publication in a newspaper setting forth a legal notice that a particular person is changing their name and identifying their old name and their new name.  

For years, in order to protect the LGBTQ Community, as attorneys we would have to specifically request and hope that a Judge would agree not to require publication.  For many individuals the mere publication could put an LGBTQ individual, especially transgender and non-binary individuals, in actual danger.

The new law, "The Gender Recognition Act", which recently went into effect on December 21, 2021, also authorizes changes to the state records law so that people can have their gender identity on documents such as driver's licenses and birth certificates which reflect their individual identity.  

Although this new law was guided primarily to protect transgender and non-binary individuals, it also protects other individuals, especially victims of domestic violence, who will no longer be required to publicize their new names or addresses.  

It also changes the requirement of spousal consent to change one's name.  Most people are unaware that currently, if you are married, you need the consent of your spouse before the Court will issue an order to change your name.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Hilary Gingold, NYDailyNews (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

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