Transgender? How to change your name in Missouri.
Guest Blog Post from Kimberly Vered Shashoua, LCSW
One of the most exciting things about realizing you’re transgender is getting to reclaim your identity! You get to deliberately decide the way you dress, speak, and act in ways that align with you really are. Finally, you can take off the mask of being whom others expected you to be.
Top of the list – your name! You can choose a name that fits with your genuine self. The move from your “actual” name and away from your legal name/deadname can be a taxing process. Each state has different requirements in what they demand from name change applicants.
Missouri has relatively simple requirements for name changes
Every state has different requirements for what it takes to change your name. Luckily, Missouri’s requirements are a lot easier than some states!
From Mo. Ann. Stat. § 527.290:
“To obtain a legal name change in Missouri, an applicant must submit a petition to the court. The applicant must publish notice of the name change at least once a week for three weeks in a newspaper within 20 days of the court order. The publication requirement may be waived for victims of domestic violence or child abuse.”
What documents do I need?
The petition to change your name can be found here (the Office of State Courts Administrator, Missouri) or at your local court. For standard cases (not the victim of abuse or a minor), you will use form CAFC470, titled “Petition for Change of Name (For Adult Individual)”.
Once completed, the name change petition form needs to be notarized. You can do this at banks, UPS stores, and legal offices. If you have an account with the bank, they will usually notarize your document for free. Other locations can charge anywhere from $0.50 to $15 for notarization.
You must also complete form CAFC480, titled “Request for Publication after Judgment of Change of Name for Adult Individual.” This form is related to the publishing requirement.
You can get an attorney to submit these forms for you, or you can submit it to the court yourself.
How do I publish my name change notice in a newspaper?
The first step is making sure that the newspaper qualifies for the notice requirement.
Per Section 493.050 R.S.Mo, the newspaper has to “be published in some daily, triweekly, semiweekly or weekly newspaper of general circulation in the County.” Additionally, the newspaper needs to “have been published regularly and consecutively for a period of three years.”
A large newspaper that circulates in your area (and beyond) is a good bet. If you’re unsure if your local newspaper is large enough, you can read the entire section 493.050 R.S.Mo and see if your it meets the requirements. In Mid-Missouri, the Columbia Tribune is probably a good bet.
The next step would be to contact the newspaper’s advertising section. Per chapter 493.025 R.S.Mo, newspapers can’t charge a premium for name changes. You only have to pay the “regular local classified advertising rate.”
How much does it cost to change your name in Missouri?
The cost of changing your name is, again, comparatively low in Missouri. The main fees are court fees, notary fees (if any), and the cost to have a published in a newspaper.
The court fees may vary based on which court you submit your petition. Fees average $150-200.
Want more support on your journey to living authentically?
While your in the midst of the emotional journey of self discovery, you may be interested in working with a gender affirming counselor. If so, you can contact Aspire Counseling and our Client Care Coordinator or director will work with you to find the right therapist in Mid Missouri.
On the other hand, you may be simply looking for support without devling into the deeper work of counseling. If you’re simply looking for support in changing your name, gender marker, or navigating the many choices before you, you can reach out and schedule a Transgender Road Map consultation with Kimberly. If your friends or family would like to talk about some of their transgender questions and concerns, they can schedule an online Parent and Family Support consultation here.
About the Guest Author
Kimberly Vered Shashoua, LCSW, is the founder of Vered Counseling which specializes in helping transgender people and their families. She offers therapy in Texas and North Carolina. Her counseling services specialize in working with trans teens, transgender adults & teenage girls. She also offers coaching and support to transgender people as well as trans individual’s parents, friends and other family members in all 50 states.