If you live in Tampa Bay, Greater Sarasota, or elsewhere in Florida and you are looking to change your legal name, Family Diplomacy: A Collaborative Law Firm can help you. Whether you seek to correct your birth certificate, honor a loved one, or turn a new leaf in life, Family Diplomacy will sit down with you and set a plan for moving forward.
Malcolm Little became Malcolm X. Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali. Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam. All three changed their names to reflect their Muslim identity and cultural beliefs.
And if you wish to change your legal name to reflect your identity and beliefs, section 68.07 of the Florida Statutes sets out how you may do so.
With Pope Francis’ visit upon us and the recent celebration of the Jewish New Year, many Floridians are looking inward and have decided that they want to turn over a new leaf. For some, that may include a decision to adopt a new legal name.
Fortunately, Florida has procedures that permit most adult residents to change their name.
Some states are very restrictive in their requirements to change a person’s legal name. Fortunately, Florida is relatively permissive, and Family Diplomacy has successfully represented dozens of clients to help get their name legally changed.
What follows is a step-by-step guide on how someone can request a change of name in Florida.
In Florida, as in most other jurisdictions, women can restore their maiden name as part of the divorce process. However, for a lot of reasons, many women keep their married name.
Sometimes it is so they can maintain the same last name as their minor children, making it easier to communicate with school and healthcare officials. Sometimes it is related to their employment, and they do not want to disrupt an earned reputation by altering their name. And sometimes it is because they simply did not know they had the option to restore their name in divorce proceedings.
So, after divorce, is it too late to restore a maiden name?
A couple of weeks ago, the Washington Post reported that an army soldier convicted of leaking classified materials had changed her legal name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. Ms. Manning’s name change has come after her public acknowledgment that she is transgender.
So could Chelsea Manning have been granted a name change in Florida?
There are many athletes who, for various reasons, have changed their legal names.
Basketball star Ron Artest changed his legal name to Metta World Peace to “inspire and bring youth together all around the world.”
Football player Chad Johnson became Chad Ochocinco in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, reflecting his jersey number, 85.
I recently had a conversation where a woman told me that she wanted to get a name change. She had lived in Florida for the past 5 years, but she was born in New York City, and she was wondering if she would have to travel back to NYC to change her name and get her birth certificate amended.
I assured her that she could get the name change here in Florida.
One of the first questions I am always asked by potential clients who are seeking to change their legal name in Tampa Bay or elsewhere in Florida is how long it will take.
First, it depends on whether you retain an attorney who is experienced in name change proceedings. I have helped countless Florida residents obtain a change of their legal name throughout the state, and I have addressed situations that could have caused the name change to be delayed by months.
Transgender residents of Florida, just like all other residents, have the right to petition the court for change of a legal name. As in every name change case, whether the petition will be granted is determined by the following eligibility guidelines:
- Whether the petitioner has an ulterior or illegal motive in seeking the name change (such as attempting to avoid criminal prosecution, attempting to avoid a debt, or attempting to assume the identity of someone else). Though there is not much case law on the matter, changing a name to reflect a transgender identity should not be considered an ulterior motive.
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