so people don't have to have their form rejected three times like i did, here are some tips to getting your name changed in va, or at least, in charlottesville, va.
1. if you plan to download the forms, be aware that there is only one out of two of the forms available online, as far as i can tell. and no where does it tell you that there is a second form required. the second form is an "order." the first time i was rejected it was because i hadn't filled out the order. you can pick up this form directly from the circuit court. in fact, i recommend going directly to the circuit court to pick up, fill out and turn in all your forms. doing it by mail only results in aggrevation, and they won't "give you advice" over the phone, even if the advice is instruction.
2. make sure your phone number and driver's license number is on the check for $32. the second time i had my form rejected, it was for this!
3. you need to have the two page application notarized. no where does it tell you this, but there is a small section for a notary's signature. the third time i had the form rejected, it was because it hadn't been notarized. they didn't find it convenient to tell me all of this at once. i just hopped on over to a bank on the downtown mall and the nice lady there notarized it.
4. and guess what. just when you think you've done everything correctly you'll find out that you are supposed to fill out a part on the order that the judge normally fills out. they have applicants do this because, "the judge has such bad handwriting." COME ON, people! you have absolutely no way of knowing this unless you are filling out your forms at the circuit court directly. so avoid the frustration of trying to do it by mail, and just go there. ok so, the photo i have of the order below shows the part that you indeed are supposed to fill out, even if it begins with the words, "The court finds. . ." and, "Accordingly, it is ADJUDGED and ORDERED. . ." Fill out everything but the very last line where the judge signs and dates it.
and that is all! good luck in becoming your true self. i'll make sure to let everyone know how the actual changes with dmv, bank, work, passport and etc. go.