Are you getting married and planning to use your spouse's surname? Perhaps going back to your pre-marital surname after a divorce? Updating your gender marker to match your gender identity? Finalizing an adoption?
We'll show you how to change your name in Louisiana, including:
- Identifying the right process for you
- Figuring out where to file the necessary paperwork
- Updating your identification and other documents
Learn more about changing your name and gender marker in Louisiana below.
Louisiana Legal Name Change Process
Louisiana residents can change their surnames through marriage and divorce. Otherwise, you must get a court order from a parish district court, as outlined in the next section.
It's most common for a person to change their surname after getting married. In Louisiana, your last name will not immediately change after getting married. But you can choose to use your spouse's last name. To start the process, apply for a marriage license with your parish clerk of court (“clerk").
Once married, submit your completed license to the clerk's office. They will mail your marriage certificate (record) to you directly.
Be sure to request a few certified copies of your marriage certificate. You'll need it to request your new Social Security card, driver's license, and passport.
If you want to go back to your pre-marital name after a divorce, be sure to tell the court before it issues the final divorce judgment. You can make the request in your:
Ask the clerk's office for a few certified copies of the divorce decree. You'll need it to update your identification documents, banking, and other account information.
Petition for Change of Name
Outside of marriage or divorce, you can change your name in Louisiana by submitting a written petition for a name change to the district court in one of the following:
- Your parish of birth
- The parish where you now live
- The parish of venue for the Vital Records Registry (Orleans Parish)
If you are convicted of a felony, you must complete your full sentence before you can change your name. But Louisiana prohibits name changes for anyone convicted of a violent felony.
Louisiana courts require substantial filing fees for name change petitions. Fees vary from parish to parish, but you can expect to pay between $300 and $500.
If you want to update your gender marker on your Louisiana birth certificate, consider including that request in your petition for a change of name to reduce court fees and record copying charges.
After filing your name change petition, you must serve the parish district attorney (DA) with a certified copy. You may either deliver your petition to the DA's office in person or request service through the Sheriff's Office for an additional fee.
The DA will run a criminal background check before filing their answer with the court. If the DA's answer objects to your name change, contact an attorney for assistance.
The judge may require a brief hearing before signing the order granting your name change.
Once the judge signs the order, you should request several certified copies from the clerk's office to update your identification documents with other government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Office of Motor Vehicles, and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.
Gender Marker Change in Louisiana
If you were born in Louisiana and wish to change the gender marker on your birth certificate, you must file a petition with the district court in:
- The parish of your birth,
- The parish where you now live, or
- The parish of venue for the Vital Records Registry (Orleans Parish).
To start the process, prepare a petition to obtain a new certificate of birth and submit it to the court along with:
- A certified copy of your original, long-form birth certificate
- Evidence of gender-affirming surgery
- Filing fee (varies from parish to parish)
You must name the Louisiana State Registrar (“registrar") as the opposing party in your petition. If married, you must also name your spouse as a party.
If your petition includes a request for a name change, be sure to deliver a certified copy to the parish District Attorney (DA) as well.
The judge may require a brief hearing before issuing a decision.
Louisiana law refers to gender-affirming surgery as “sex reassignment" or “corrective" surgery. This law requires petitioners to provide medical evidence of vaginoplasty or phalloplasty to the court. Other gender-affirming surgeries, such as a hysterectomy or orchiectomy (top surgery), are not explicitly included in Louisiana law.
Currently, Louisiana only authorizes binary gender markers ("female" or “male") for birth certificates.
Once the court issues the order for your new birth certificate, it should send a copy to the registrar within ten days. You will receive your new Louisiana birth record directly from the registrar.
Update Your Documents with Government Agencies
Whichever process you use to change your name in Louisiana, you are responsible for putting government agencies on notice. Those agencies might include:
- Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV)
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Social Security Card: Name and Gender Marker Updates
Update Your Name on Your Social Security Card
After you get your court order, contact your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to request a replacement Social Security (SS) card.
You may be able to start your request online, but you must visit your local SSA office in person within 45 calendar days of starting your request to provide a certified copy of your court-ordered name change and proof of the following:
- U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status
All documents must be original/certified copies, unexpired, and clearly show your name and date of birth/age.
SSA will issue you a new card with your new name. Your Social Security number (SSN) will stay the same. Your SSN follows you throughout your life, even if you change your name more than once.
Updating Your Gender Marker in Your Social Security Record
Currently, SSA only allows individuals to identify as "female" or "male" in Social Security records. But, you can change your sex identification on your Social Security record without providing medical documentation or a Court Order.
SSA is presently considering accommodations for gender non-conforming individuals.
Updating Name and Gender Marker on Louisiana Birth Certificate
Louisiana only allows "male" or "female" gender markers on birth certificates. To update your gender marker, you must first obtain a court order to amend your certificate of birth as described in the Petition for Gender Marker Change section above.
Once you receive your court order, you can request certified copies of your new birth record from the Vital Records Central Office or certain parish clerks by submitting these required materials:
If you are a transgender or gender non-conforming individual seeking help with name and gender marker changes, Louisiana Trans Advocates publishes a step-by-step guide.
Updating Name and Gender Marker on Louisiana Driver's License
You must update your name on your Social Security card before you request a replacement driver's license or state ID.
Once you have your new SS card, visit your local Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) in person. Bring original/certified copies of the following documents:
- Court Order granting your name change
- Proof of Louisiana residence
- Proof of ID (including your new SS card)
- Doctor's Certification Letter (required for gender marker updates only)
Your doctor's certification letter must confirm your “successful gender change/reassignment." The OMV will only accept a letter signed by a licensed physician (MD, DO). The Louisiana Civil Legal Navigator provides a free online tool to create these letters.
Right now, Louisiana only allows residents to choose “female" or “male" as a gender marker on their driver's license or State ID.
If you encounter challenges updating your gender marker, contact a licensed attorney for help.
Using Your New Name
After your legal name change, be sure to tell your family, friends, school, and employer. You should also update your:
- Credit cards
- U.S. Passport
- USCIS (immigration) documents
- Vehicle registration and insurance
- Life insurance and retirement policies
- Healthcare providers and insurers
- Email and social media accounts
The law cares about avoiding fraud, so it's best to use your new name consistently.
Name Changes for Children in Louisiana
If you are a parent and want to change your child's name, you must file a written petition with the district court of:
- The parish where the child was born,
- The parish where the child currently lives, or
- The parish of venue for the Vital Records Registry (Orleans Parish).
You may also petition to change a child's name if you are that child's legal guardian (called a “tutor" in Louisiana).
Contact your parish Clerk of Court to confirm filing fees and approved payment methods. The total fee amount varies from parish to parish and cannot be waived.
Your petition must include the following:
- Child's current name
- Proposed name
- Reason for the change
- Proof of the child's date of birth
- Signatures of both parents (if living)
Reasons to change your child's name might include:
- Completing an adoption
- Affirming their gender identity
- Protection from abuse
If one parent is deceased, the surviving parent must consent to the change by signing the petition. If both parents are deceased, then the tutor must sign.
After filing your petition, you must serve both the parish district attorney (DA) and the child's other parent and/or tutor with a certified copy. If a court terminates the parental rights of one or both of a child's parents, their consent is not necessary for the child's name change.
If a court awards you custody of the child, the other living parent's consent is not necessary if they:
- Fail to make court-ordered child support payments for 1 year
- Failed to support the child for 3-years after the court awarded custody of the child to you
- Refused to support, visit, communicate, or attempt to communicate with the child for 2 years or more without just cause
If one of the above circumstances applies, you must still serve the other parent with a certified copy of the petition. The court will consider testimony from both parents at a hearing.
The outcome of the hearing will largely depend on whether the Court determines the name change will be in the child's best interest. The judge will consider factors like:
- Amount of time the child used the current/proposed name
- Difficulties the child could have when using the current/proposed name
- Intent of the parent(s)/tutor
- The child's preference (if old enough)
The Louisiana Registrar permits parents to change a child's gender marker on the birth certificate under very limited circumstances.
Get Legal Help in Louisiana
FindLaw offers Louisiana name change forms that outline the process each step of the way. You can avoid the hassle of doing legal research and taking the time to figure out the legal steps.
If you need legal assistance changing your name (or your child's name) and/or gender marker in Louisiana, you can search FindLaw's Attorney Directory.
If you meet specific residency and income eligibility requirements, you may qualify for free legal assistance from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services or Acadiana Legal Services Corporation.