Justice Renamed: A new name for a safe future

Our client married his now ex-husband in May 2013. The relationship became increasingly violent and his husband was ultimately imprisoned in 2015 for assaulting him. After divorcing his violently abusive spouse, our client started going by a different name socially and moved several times. Fearful for his safety, he tried to initiate a legal name change, but couldn’t complete the process on his own.

Name changes require publication of a notice in the newspaper. Our client was afraid that publishing a notice would enable his ex-husband to find him. When he came to the AIDS Law Project for help, he was not aware that there is an exception to the publication requirement for survivors of intimate partner violence.

We filed the name change petition asking for a waiver of the publication requirement and that the record be sealed. A private hearing was held in the Judge’s chambers. After listening to our client’s testimony about his former marriage, the Judge granted the waiver, ordered the client’s name to be changed and sealed the record.

Our client was incredibly grateful and finally feels like he can stop looking over his shoulder and move on with his life.