Transition in Mississippi

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Legal Name Change in Mississippi

The process for changing your name in Mississippi is not entirely difficult, but I had a hard time filling in some of the gaps left by my complete ignorance of how court proceedings work.

In this guide, I've attached a few templates for the documents needed for this process. In both the name change petition and the court order, I tried to avoid sticking to a single set of pronouns as misgendering myself really didn't feel like the most fun prospect.

Unfortunately, I was unsure how to tweak some of these phrases to be more inclusive of nonbinary persons. Perhaps these templates will still be useful to you, though.

Petition the Court

In order to get a court date, you'll need to file a petition with the Chancery Court in your area. In Lafayette County, the fee for this is $82.50. You need to have lived in the area for at least 6 months for the court to be able todo this.

You will need to make sure that your petition is notarized, and you will want to attach a copy of your birth certificate.

You can find a template for a petition here.

Your Court Date

After you file the petition with your local Chancery Court, you will most likely have to set a court date.

For me, this involved walking upstairs to speak with the assistant to the judge assigned to my case. You should also be given this person's phone number in case an in-person meeting is too anxiety inducing. Personally, I dislike phone calls far too much for that.

The courts here usually meet once every four weeks.

Writing a Court Order

This was something that felt sprung on me, and I had a bit of a time trying to find an example. I had operated under the false assumption that a court order would be written for me.

You can find a template for that here.

In Court

Depending on how things are done in your court, your name may not specifically be called. Since I spoke to the judge's assistant and gave her my information, the judge did call me, but if that isn't the case, there is a short section before the recess where the judge will ask if there is any more business.

This typically ends up being a fairly painless process. The judge I dealt with simply swore me in, asked whether my previous name was my birth name, and then asked to make sure the new name was correct.

Don't get me wrong, going to court is anxiety inducing, but more than likely, you'll be standing for about 5 minutes and then be done.

Assuming everything goes smoothly, the judge will sign your court order, and you'll be free to go.

Next Steps

The very first step, it seems, after getting the court order signed is to take it back to the Chancery Court clerk to get it filed. This takes just a few minutes, and you'll have a chance to ask for several copies. In some cases, certified copies are free at this moment but will cost a few dollars if you need one later. I recommend trying to get a couple copies now just in case some places try to keep them.

Social Security

For this process, I was in and out in just a few minutes. It's easiest to fill out the form on your computer, print it, and bring it along with you, but they will also have copies there. The form for this can be found here.

You'll want to have your old driver's license and the court order with you. I also happened to bring along my birth certificate, but that is likely overkill.

The DMV

After Social Security works their magic, you will likely get a letter from their office to bring with you. This letter will let you get your new driver's license.

This is just another fun trip to the DMV. Bring along your court order as well as your old driver's license. They'll hand you a form to fill out, and then they'll print you a new license.

The Bank

Some banks may be willing to accept the letter from Social Security in place of your new social security card, but that wasn't the case for me. I had to wait 1-2 weeks to get my new card in the mail.

Either way, this will require yet another in person visit.