Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Name Change

I have been asked a couple of times about changing your name by common law and it has also been brought up at a meeting for anti-bullying. The topic came up at the meeting when we were discussing a revision to the “Guidelines for Schools on Gender Identity and Expression” one of the committee members said that they had an inquiry about changing a student’s name by common law and no one knew the answer, even the lawyers there. Many of the schools guidelines for gender identity and expression say that you must submit a copy of the Probate Court order.

So I did a little research and I found that Connecticut is a common law state, which means…
Common Law Rule -- Name Change
By Sheri & Bob Stritof

Definition: Believing that a person has the right to a person has the right to adopt, assume, or use any name they want as long as it isn't defrauding or hurting anyone else, many states allow a person, including a child, to change his or her name by using the common law rule.

Under the common law rule, all you have to do is use your new name "consistently, openly and non- fraudulently, without interfering with other people’s rights."
And I also found this on the CT Judicial Branch Law Library…
Names and Name Changes in Connecticut
A Guide to Resources in the Law Library

The court therefore concludes that the common-law right of a person to use a name, a right enunciated by our Supreme Court in Don v. Don, 142 Conn. 309, applies to the surname of a married women.”
Sounds easy enough and best of all it is free. But… there is always a “but.” So what is the “But” and it is a big one. Banks, Social Security, credit cards and utilities all ask for the Probate Court order, it is kind of like a “Catch 22,” yes you can change your name by common law but no one will recognize it with a court order. I’m not a lawyer but I would recommend that you go through the Probate Court if you are transitioning. There is a $150 fee but you can ask for a waiver. If you are crossdressing I think you can use any name that you want as long as it isn't defrauding or hurting anyone else (Again the caveat, I’m not a lawyer and this is only my personal opinion.). Before I transitioned and I was going out in public if anyone asked for my ID I would give them my legal ID.

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