This is a time log of MTPC staffers’ name change experiences on 9/25/2013. We live tweeted with the tag #MassIDdocs, so check that out if you missed it.
Mel already posted about her failed attempt (she forgot to bring her birth certificate!). Next week others from the MTPC staff will be making blog posts about their individual experiences, so be sure to check back with us. We expect to have MTPC’s name-change kit updated by the end of next week.
All= all 4 members
All 4 enter Middlesex Courthouse in Cambridge and go through security
— had to place electronics and keys separately into bin before scanning
— proceeded to walk through scanner and collect belongings
— took a short amount of time after procedure was explained
Mel and Devyn enter Family Law and Information Center (ground floor immediate right hand side)
–Jesse and Ryan wait outside in main lobby
All head to Adoption and Change of Name Department (2nd floor, left-hand side from staircase)
— D is told that affidavit of indigence has a separate drop-off location
— told to ask the Divorce Department where to drop it off (for cross-check purposes)
— for completed forms, emphasized that they should be made very legible and to write with black ink
— told to keep explanation simple (i.e., Common Use)
— told price would be $185 (if not applying for/approved for indigence exception)
— All go to Divorce Department (2nd floor, corridor on the right, once inside the line/desk is on the left-hand side)
— clerk sends D to Register’s Office
— Mel double-checks required documentation and realizes birth certificate isn’t there, so no name-change for Mel today
— D goes to Register’s Office (3rd floor, across atrium from stairs)
— drops off affidavit
— is told to come back at 2pm
Court Lunch time takes place 1-2 pm
Checks are made out to Probate/Family Court
Signature on name change form must be current full legal name (i.e., your legal name before the name change)
— D’s affidavit got approved!
— picked it up in a sealed laminated file folder
Have to go back to Adoption and Name Change Department
— clerk came out to tell D to come into office (other clerk back to evaluate application)
— back in name change department with D
— D hands in birth certificate and paperwork
— clerk asked why D put down “common use” on application and D replies that it’s what they go by
— asked for daytime phone number
— informed it’s a 3-4 week timeframe to get finished name change
no criminal record = does not have to go in front of a judge
Arrived at Brooke Courthouse in Suffolk County
Walked to Registry of Probate (3rd floor, left wing)
— when J receives forms does not get an explanation sheet as we did at Middlesex court
— asked to fill out CORI check [We’re not sure why J was asked to but D was not]
— J stands in line for 5 min
— security guard closes the line, even though there’s almost no one waiting [court closes at 4:30 pm but the cutoff for getting in line is earlier, even if it’s not busy]
— told it will take 5-6 weeks, which is longer than for Middlesex
Main questions following these 2 experiences:
— Does the individual clerk make a big difference in the “name change” experience?
— Why and when is a CORI check involved?
— Why is there not more court consistency between counties/across the state?
— Should clerks in the name change department(s) have trans issues competency training?
— Were these experiences mostly positive because the clerks found the gender presentation to be “clear” and because the names being chosen were unisex?