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Change of Sex on Legal Documents

BIRTH CERTIFICATE

Note that the Family Court now accepts change as to sex under some situations without requiring full genital surgery – we don’t have full information as to this but essentially the applicant would need to convince the court that they have permanently changed sex and have no intention of reverting - anyother surgery would obviously help (facial, top, orchi etc)

After you have had SRS/GRS surgery you are able to apply to have the sex recorded on your New Zealand birth certificate changed, this article will be written based on the MtF's process. The advantages of doing this are:

  • You can be issued with a new birth certificate, unlike with the name change this only shows your new name and sex not any previous names, it is a completely new record, your old birth certificate is sealed (but is still accessible by courts and police but not by general inquiry)
  • Once this is done you can apply for a passport with an F gender marker
  • You can also get your drivers license records changed from M to F, this does not show on the license itself which has no gender marker but is on the computer record which the police will access if checking your license.
  • You may be able to get legally married to someone of the opposite gender to your new gender. I.e. if your birth certificate is changed to F you can legally marry a male.

The only catch for some people is that you cannot get this change while you are still legally married as by NZ law a Female cannot be married to a female so you have to get your marriage annulled or get divorced. You could then have a civil union if desired. You also cannot in the future marry a female as you are legally female.

The first stage of the process is to make an application to the Family court, specifically you are making an

“Application with notice for declaration of the Family Court as to sex to be shown on a birth certificate under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, Part 5, Section 28”

You can do this yourself without needing a solicitor, all the forms can be downloaded from the Family Court website or you can get them by visiting the nearest Family Court.

Family Court Website www.justice.govt.nz/family/home.asp

Go to forms page

List of forms

General forms


You need the following forms:

 

Completing the forms

There is quite a lot of repetition, the most important form is the Affidavit and it may be best to do this last as changes create problems (practice on the others). Handwritten forms are fine.

G1 Front page

Complete details for court and applicant (yourself).

The respondent on this and all forms should be

Registrar – General, Births Deaths and marriages
PO Box 10526
, Wellington

On the occupation line put Registrar General

Putting them as respondent ensures they get served with the papers, they get ratty if they don’t and it makes the next stage a lot harder.

In the description of document section write:
Application with notice for declaration of the Family Court as to sex to be shown on a birth certificate under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, Part 5, Section 28 for [YOUR NAME HERE].

In "filed by" write your full name and address

G5 Application form for order with notice

First page is basically a repeat of info on G1.

Second page fill out name at top.

In the apply for box write "Ask the family court to declare my sex to be shown on my birth certificate as Female under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, Part 5, Section 28"

In the grounds box state (note the numbers are references to the clauses in the Act):

"I am an eligible adult as per Clause 27(A) because

 IF BORN IN NZ PUT a) i) because my birth is registered in New Zealand
  IF BORN OVERSEAS PUT  a) ii) I am a person who is a New Zealand citizen or is entitled, under the Immigration Act 1987, to be in New Zealand indefinitely
IN BOTH CASES THEN PUT and b) I am over 18 years in age

(28) (3) (A) My birth certificate shows Male as sex

(b)(i) I changed my name on [DATE] to [YOUR CURRENT NAME]

From [DATE] I have lived full time as female and intend to maintain this identity.

(ii) I wish female to appear as my sex on my birth certificate

(C)(i)(b),(c) On [DATE] I undertook irreversible male to female sex reassignment surgery at LOCATION by Dr [DOCTOR'S NAME]

On page 3 again list Registrar General as person to be served

G7 Information sheet (1 of 3 copies must be on Yellow paper)

Details as per previous forms

General Affidavit

Try to avoid any corrections, each corrections will need signing and witnessing

Page 1 Your Exactly same as G1

Page 2 your name and then in swear or affirm exactly same as the apply for and grounds box on G5 form (ie include info from both boxes)

You can then add any further information that might assist the court in terms of the change being full and permanent. For example, you could include the fact that you had been on hormones continuously since (applicable date) and also some details on counselling and psychiatric assessments.

Then you also need (in this same box which extends over the next two pages) to list and number the exhibits you will include. Again the more you give them the better – however the following would be the minimum required (we have put the first just as it would be listed on the affidavit, just follow this format for any others):

Exhibit one

An original of the post operative medical certificate from Dr [YOUR DR'S NAME]
(Note you must include either an original or a certified true copy – in which case state certified copy, whoever witnesses the affidavit can certify a copy – you need to produce the copy and the original so they can certify it at that time but this lets you keep the original.)

The other must have is a certified copy of your birth certificate showing your current name

You could also include the following:

  • Certified copy of my statutory declaration for your name change
  • Certified copy of psychiatrist's report (needed for SRS)
  • Letter from your doctor outlining the medical treatment you have undergone as part of your transition

 This affidavit needs to be signed by you and witnessed by a Justice of the Peace (JP) or the court registrar before submitting it (so you can in fact do it when lodging it at the Family Court – you must sign in front of them). They will also need to sign each exhibit using the following (the registrar has a handy stamp with this on)

This is the annexure marked "PUT EXHIBIT 1 OR APPLICABLE NUMBER HERE " referred to in the affidavit of [your full name] sworn/affirmed at [place]

this .................. day of ....................... 20 ..... before me:

___________________________________________
Deputy Registrar/Justice of the Peace/Solicitor


Exhibits

Number each exhibit as per the affidavit

Each must be witnessed as noted above (and certified if a copy)

Lodging

Go to the nearest Family Court with the four forms as above and the exhibits (clipped to affidavit). If you have not sworn the affidavit the court registrar will do this now. Surprisingly there is no fee for this application (it may be that they are uncommon enough that no one has set one).

Process

This may vary but is what happened for Cathy in mid 2008:

Assuming you haven’t missed anything you will get a confirming letter from the court which will probably have a review date (this is an internal process they use to keep track of the application – in my case this date was about five weeks after I lodged the application.

I then received a letter stating that a judge had appointed a counsel to assist the applicant, apparently they often do this when people submit their own applications, there is no cost to you. This solicitor met with me (about ½ hour) congratulated me on how well the forms were completed and then did a three page report for the court noting the applicable case law and suggested that it might well be dealt with by the court on the papers (there are two options declaration based on papers only or a short formal proof hearing at the court which you will need to attend)

I was contacted a few weeks latter by Births Deaths and Marriages and sent a copy of their memorandum they sent to the court which confirmed that I was not legally married and that they did not intend to take any active steps in the hearing.

About 1 week after the review date the court rang to say my application had been granted on the papers and the official order was mailed to me.

Addendum for those not born in New Zealand

Subsequent to the recent amendment people born overseas can now get a family court declaration as to sex, the only differences to the above would be

G1 Front page NO CHANGE

In the description of document section write: "Application with notice for declaration of the Family Court as to sex to be shown on a birth certificate under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, Part 5, Section 28 for [YOUR NAME HERE]"

G5 Application form for order with notice

Second page in the apply for box ask the Family Court to declare your sex to be shown on your birth certificate as Female under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, Part 5, Section 28 THIS IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS ABOVE

In the grounds box state (note the numbers are references to the clauses in the Act):
I am an eligible adult as per Clause 27(A) because

 a) ii) I am a person who is a New Zealand citizen or is entitled, under the Immigration Act 1987, to be in New Zealand indefinitely

WHEREAS FOR SOMEONE BORN IN NZ WOULD PUT) a) i) because my birth is registered in New Zealand (you don't put this put the above instead)

Note: It is not possible to change any details on an overseas birth certificate, this can only be done in the country of birth.

While one can apply to the family court for a declaration as to legal sex, and it can be granted but that is as far as you can go, it will only ever be of use in NZ. However, this may be well worth the effort as it could make the process easier in the country of birth if a NZ court document can be provided at the time of application overseas.

REST OF FORM IS SAME AS ABOVE
 

G7 Information sheet (1 of 3 copies must be on Yellow paper)

Details as per previous forms (YOU MUST MAKE THE SAME CHANGE AS FORM G5 ABOVE)

General Affidavit

Page 1 Exactly same as G1

Page 2 your name and then in swear or affirm exactly same as the apply for and grounds box on G5 form (ie include info from both boxes) (AGAIN MAKE THE SAME CHANGE AS G5 ABOVE)

Applying for a new birth certificate

If you are born in New Zealand, around 1-2 weeks after the order is granted you should receive from Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) a form titled "Application to deposit a declaration by the family court as to sex (BDM65)" – this is sent to you automatically. After completing it send it back to BDM in Wellington along with a fee of $50 and an additional $26 if you want a copy of the new birth certificate (which you will) – you need to send evidence of birth date (original birth certificate copy) and the Court Declaration. You should in due course receive back the new birth certificate, this now only shows your current name and the Sex as declared by the Family Court.

Applying for a new NZ passport

If you have a NZ passport you can now apply for a new one with your correct gender on it. You just need to fill out a normal passport application. You could attach a letter stating that although my existing passport is current, you I want one to reflect the gender as per your recent Family Court Declaration (which is now shown on the birth certificate).

Changing Drivers licence records

Cathy changed this by sending a letter to:

Driver Licence Administration
Transport Registry Centre
Private Bag 11777
Manawatu Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4440

Stating;

In [MONTH, YEAR] I changed my name by statutory declaration and changed my drivers licence accordingly. (Licence No XXXXXX in the name of [OLD NAME]).

I have now had a family court declaration to allow me to change the gender recorded on my birth certificate to female and have received my amended birth certificate from Births Deaths and marriages (copy attached). I would request that you change the gender on my drivers licence records from male to female.

Could you please confirm to me when this has been done.

Note this does not appear on the actual licence but is stored in the system and is accessible to police if you are ever stopped – in fact when they do a licence check the first comment back is your old name.

That pretty much completes the process