Arkansas | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Arkansas

Welcome to our one-stop hub for name and gender change information. Find out how to update your name and gender on state and federal IDs and records. 

COVID-19 disruptions: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many courts and government offices have made significant changes to their operating procedures. This may cause delays in the processing of your name or gender marker change requests as a result. Contact your local court or other government offices for more details. You should keep dated copies of any materials you submit by mail or electronically. We understand this is a hardship for many, and we encourage you to reach out for support if you are distressed.

Not sure where to start? Here's a quick overview.

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Last updated November 2021

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Arkansas Name Change Laws

Name Changes for Adults

Overview:

The name change process for an adult requires filing a Cover Sheet, a Petition for Change of Name, and an Order for Name Change with the local Circuit Court. The petition must be notarized before filing.  Some counties have additional requirements, such as a Disposition Sheet.  There is no requirement for publication of notice in a newspaper. The Court may or may not schedule a hearing — this varies by county.

Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative (ArTEC) has provided a step by step guide to changing your name in Arkansas, including form templates. 

 

Step 1: Contact Local Court Clerk for Requirements

The Petitioner should begin by identifying their local Circuit Court and contacting the Clerk's Office to ask about specific requirements for that circuit, such as requiring a Disposition Sheet or holding a formal hearing, as well as the filing fee for that Court. This map shows the jurisdiction of each Circuit Court, and the contact information for the Clerk's Office of the Courts can be found here.

 

Step 2: Prepare Petition and Other Forms

The ArTEC Name & Gender Change Guide contains step by step instructions for this process. Additional guidance is available from Arkansas Law Help.

  1. Circuit Court Cover Sheet (available here)
  2. Petition for Change of Name (available here)
  3. Order for Name Change (available here)
  4. Disposition Sheet (if necessary) (available here)
  5. In Forma Pauperis (Fee Waiver) (if necessary) (available here)

All forms must be filled out in the Petitioner's current legal name. The new name appears only on the Petition and Order. ArTEC recommends that the for requesting a name change be given simply as “common usage” or “this is my preferred name,” as stating that the Petitioner is transgender might lead to requests for additional documentation.

The Petition must be notarized before being filed with the court. Notary services are typically provided by banks and government agencies, sometimes for a fee. Notaries can also be located through the Arkansas Secretary of State's database of notaries.

 

Step 3: File Paperwork with the Court

The Petitioner should submit the notarized Petition and other paperwork at the Clerk's Office of their local Circuit Court and pay the filing fee (or request a fee waiver using the In Forma Pauperis form linked in Step 2). The filing fee may vary from Court to Court, but is typically about $165.00.

If the Court schedules a hearing, the clerk will provide the Petitioner with a Notice of Hearing at the time of filing. The Petitioner may be required to deliver this Notice directly to the judge assigned to their case.

If no hearing is scheduled, the Petitioner should follow the instructions given by the clerk. 

 

Step 4: Attend Hearing (If Applicable)

At a hearing, the judge may ask the Petitioner questions about their name change, including their reasons for changing it. If a hearing is scheduled, the Petitioner should consider consulting with an attorney or calling the Arkansas Law Help helpline (1-888-540-2941) in advance. 

If the Court grants the name change, the Petitioner should proceed with changing their identity documents as described below. If the Court denies the name change, the Petitioner should contact an attorney or the Arkansas Law Help helpline to determine what options are available to them.

Last updated November 2021

 


Name Changes for Minors

Overview:

In order to change a minor's name, the minor's parent or guardian must file the petition on the minor's behalf. This requires filing a Cover Sheet, a Petition for Change of Name-Minor, and an Order for Name Change with the local Circuit Court. The petition must be notarized before filing.  Some counties have additional requirements, such as a Disposition Sheet.  There is no requirement for publication of notice in a newspaper. The Court may or may not schedule a hearing — this varies by county.

In addition, the parent who is not the one filing the petition on the minor's behalf must sign a Consent to Name Change to be filed with the Court. If the non-filing parent does not consent, the filing parent must have notice of the name change served upon the non-filing parent, and they must be given a chance to object. It is possible that the Court will deny the name change if both parents do not consent.

Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative (ArTEC) has provided a step by step guide to changing your name in Arkansas, including form templates. This includes guidance on name changes for minors.

 

Step 1: Contact Local Court Clerk for Requirements

The parent should begin by identifying their local Circuit Court and contacting the Clerk's Office to ask about specific requirements for that circuit, such as requiring a Disposition Sheet or holding a formal hearing, as well as the filing fee for that Court. This map shows the jurisdiction of each Circuit Court, and the contact information for the Clerk's Office of the Courts can be found here.

 

Step 2: Prepare Petition and Other Forms

The ArTEC Name & Gender Change Guide contains step by step instructions for this process. Additional guidance is available from Arkansas Law Help.

  1. Circuit Court Cover Sheet (available here)
  2. Petition for Change of Name-Minor (available here)
  3. Order for Name Change (available here)
  4. Consent to Name Change (available here)
  5. Affidavit of Proof of Service (if necessary) (available here)
  6. Disposition Sheet (if necessary) (available here)
  7. In Forma Pauperis (Fee Waiver) (if necessary) (available here)

All forms must be filled out in the minor's current legal name. The new name appears only on the Petition and Order. ArTEC recommends that the for requesting a name change be given simply as “common usage” or “this is my preferred name,” as stating that the minor is transgender might lead to requests for additional documentation.

The Petition must be notarized before being filed with the court. Notary services are typically provided by banks and government agencies, sometimes for a fee. Notaries can also be located through the Arkansas Secretary of State's database of notaries.

 

Step 3: File Paperwork with the Court

The parent should submit the notarized Petition and other paperwork at the Clerk's Office of their local Circuit Court and pay the filing fee (or request a fee waiver using the In Forma Pauperis form linked in Step 2). The filing fee may vary from Court to Court, but is typically about $165.00.

It is likely that the Court will schedule a hearing. In that case, the clerk will provide the parent with a Notice of Hearing at the time of filing. The Petitioner may be required to deliver this Notice directly to the judge assigned to their case.

If one parent does not consent to the name change, the filing parent will be required to have the non-consenting parent served by certified mail with the Notice of Hearing and other paperwork as directed by the clerk of the Court. The filing parent will then need to submit a notarized Affidavit of Proof of Service with the Court.

If no hearing is scheduled, the Petitioner should follow the instructions given by the clerk. 

 

Step 4: Attend Hearing (If Applicable)

At a hearing, the judge may ask the parents and the minor questions about their name change, including their reasons for changing it. If one of the parents objects to the name change, they will be given an opportunity to present their objection and the minor and filing parent will have an opportunity to respond. Even if both parents consent, they should provide evidence of reasons why the name change would be in the best interests of the child. 

If one parent does not consent to the name change, the filing parent should consider consulting with an attorney or calling the Arkansas Law Help helpline (1-888-540-2941) in advance. 

If the Court grants the name change, the minor should proceed with changing their identity documents as described below. If the Court denies the name change, the minor and filing parent should contact an attorney or the Arkansas Law Help helpline to determine what options are available to them.

Last updated November 2021

Arkansas Drivers License Policy & Procedures

In order to update the name on an Arkansas driver's license or ID, the applicant must first change their name with the Social Security Administration. For more information on that process, visit the Social Security Record section of the ID Documents Center

Once the Social Security records have been updated, the applicant must then submit an application for a new ID and a certified copy of the court order changing their name to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services in person at their local Department of Finance and Administration office.

In order to update the gender on an Arkansas driver's license or ID, the applicant should submit an application for a new ID and select the gender marker they wish to appear on the ID: M, F, or X. No medical documentation is required to change the gender marker on an Arkansas license or ID. The Arkansas Office of Driver Services policy on gender marker changes is stated here.

Last updated November 2021

Arkansas Birth Certificate Laws

Arkansas Vital Records will issue a new birth certificate with an updated name and gender marker upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the "sex… has been changed by surgical procedure." The change to the gender marker is kept private, and the original certificate is removed to a special file. (Ark. Code Ann. §§ 20-18-307, 20-18-304, 20-18-305).

The process to obtain this court order will vary depending on what state the applicant lives in. Applicants seeking such an order should consult with an attorney in their state to discuss what steps they will need to undertake.

Once the applicant has obtained a qualifying court order, to apply for an amended birth certificate, they should submit the following to the Arkansas Department of Health:

  • Birth Certificate Application Form;
  • A court order indicating the sex has been changed by surgical procedure and the name has been changed;
  • A copy of the doctor's letter indicating the sex has been changed by surgical procedure;
  • A copy of the applicant's government-issued photo ID; and
  • A check for $27 made payable to Arkansas Department of Health

Send application materials to:

Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 W. Markham St. 
Little Rock, AR 72205

Arkansas Vital Records will accept court orders for name and gender change from other states.

Last updated November 2021

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