When a parent leaves a child’s life, that parent can leave a surname behind. This can happen after the parents break up or divorce, or when a parent abandons a child. After the departure, the custodial parent may want to change the child’s surname.
It’s often a problem for transgender people that their government documents (e.g., driver’s license, Social Security record, passport) don’t match their name and gender. Having updated documents is important for employment, government benefits, and even safety. An incorrect document can “out” a transgender person at a dangerous moment. Here’s what you need to know about making name and gender marker changes.