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Gender Non-Conforming Legal Name Change

If you are gender non-conforming and living in Florida, you may not know where to turn to change your legal name.  At Family Diplomacy, we pride ourselves in offering a welcoming environment.  From the moment you contact us, we will listen to and address your concerns, determine your eligibility for a name change, and stand by your side throughout the legal process.

We are here for you.

Gender Non-Conforming Definitions

For those reading this post who may not be familiar with this term, the Human Rights Campaign defines gender non-conforming as “[a] broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. While many also identify as transgender, not all gender non-conforming people do.”

PFLAG, which describes itself as “the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies,” defines gender non-conforming as follows:

A term for those who do not follow gender stereotypes. Often an umbrella for nonbinary genders (see TGNC). Though fairly uncommon, some people view the term as derrogatory, so they may use other terms including gender expansive, differently gendered, gender creative, gender variant, genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, gender neutral, bigender, androgynous, or gender diverse. PFLAG National uses the term gender expansive. It is important to respect and use the terms people use for themselves, regardless of any prior associations or ideas about those terms.

For purposes of this article, we use the term gender non-conforming.  However, if you prefer another term, please let us know when you contact us and we will respect your preference.

Eligibility for Florida Gender Non-Conforming Name Change

Regardless of where you were born, if you live in the Sunshine State, Florida courts have jurisdiction to change your legal name.  You may petition for a name change if you are an adult, and a parent may petition on your behalf if you are a child.  Once your petition for change of name is filed, the request will often be granted unless a Court finds that (i) you have improper or illegal motives in seeking the name change, (ii) your civil rights are suspended (for example, by being convicted of a felony), or (iii) granting you a name change will invade the property rights (e.g., intellectual property rights) of others.

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Changing My Transgender Child’s Legal Name

Being a supportive parent can oftentimes be challenging, but you and your transgender child may have come to the conclusion that it is time for a legal name change.  Is it possible to change a transgender child’s name to match his or her identity?

So long as both legal parents are in agreement, in most circumstances you can change your minor child’s legal name.

Petition for Change of Legal Name

In Florida, legal name changes are accomplished through the court system.  Accordingly, you will need to petition a court in the county in which you live for your child’s name change.  The petition must include information such as:

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Why Florida LGBTQ Families Should Be Concerned About Simmonds v. Perkins

If your child is born while you and your spouse are married, you both will always be considered the parents of the child, right?  Well, not necessarily.  LGBTQ families should be aware of their family law rights.  And according to Simmonds v. Perkins, 247 So. 3d 397 (Fla. 2018), those family law rights may be at risk.

Facts of Simmonds v. Perkins

Simmonds v. Perkins involves a Husband, a Wife, and a Biological Father.  While married to Husband, Wife has an affair with Biological Father.  Wife gets pregnant from Biological Father.  While still married to Husband, Wife gives birth to child.

Now, Biological Father did not know that Wife was married to Husband at the time of the affair, and once Biological Father did learn about the marriage, Wife told him that the marriage was only for “immigration purposes.”

After the child was born, Biological Father would visit the child regularly and paid Wife child support.  Eventually, Biological Father filed an action in court to be named the child’s legal father, have all of the rights of a father (including ability to make decisions and right to spend time with the child), and take on the obligation of child support.

Wife files a motion to dismiss the action because the child was born during an intact marriage between her and Husband.  Traditionally, that meant that there was a strong legal presumption that Husband was the legal father of the child, and it was very difficult for any third party to challenge this status.  Husband would later join as a party and also requested that his rights be respected and the case be dismissed.

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Transgender Family Law Tampa Bay

The question of which attorney to choose is a very personal one.  You want someone who will offer a warm, welcoming environment and who understands the unique legal and societal challenges that transgender family law matters often entail.  You want someone who has been on the forefront of LGBTQ family law rights and will be there for you.  We would be honored to represent you.

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Cordover & Gaies Present on LGBTQ Families & Relationships

On August 11, 2017, psychologist and collaborative facilitator Jeremy Gaies joined collaborative attorney and mediator Adam B. Cordover to present on the topic of “LGBTQ Relationships:  The New Family and Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution.”  Gaies and Cordover facilitated the LGBTQ families workshop at the 25th Annual Conference of Florida’s Dispute Resolution Center.

Purpose of LGBTQ Families Workshop

The purpose of the workshop was threefold:

  1. Identify specific legal and other considerations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals and families;
  2. Engage in discussion of various out-of-court options to meet LGBTQ needs; and
  3. Consider new and future legal challenges for LGBTQ clients and the family law community.

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Trans Name Change in Tampa Bay

Do you want your legal identity to match who you are?  At Family Diplomacy, we have been a cutting edge law firm serving the needs of LGBT clients.  We can help you apply for a change of your legal name and gender marker to sync with your gender identity.  In sum, we can help you with a trans name change.

Trans Name Change

Though Florida is often behind the times, with name changes the state is pretty liberal.  So long as your civil rights are not suspended, and you are not seeking a change of name for an illegal or ulterior purpose, your petition of change of name can be granted by a circuit court judge.

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Tampa Bay Times Column on Transgender Name Changes

Tampa Bay Times Columnist Sue Carlton writes in the September 26, 2016 edition of the newspaper about a growing trend in Florida Family Law Courts: Petitions for Change of Legal Name by transgender individuals.

In Florida, courts grant requests for changes of name relatively freely.  So long as a person has not been convicted of a felony (or, if they have been convicted of a felony, then they must have had their civil rights restored), and that the person is not seeking the name change for an illegal or ulterior purpose (such as to avoid a debt or lawsuit), the court will generally grant your request for a name change.

However, you must take the required steps for a name change, including properly filing a petition, going through a background check by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and appearing before a judge for questioning.

The fact that a person is changing a name from one that is associated with one gender to a name that is associated with a different gender should not make a difference.

Parts of the Tampa Bay Times article, A new frontier for Florida courts: Transgender name changes,  can be found after the jump:

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Can 2 Men or 2 Women Appear on a Florida Birth Certificate?

Florida has not had the best history when it comes to the rights of same-sex couples.  For the longest time, the state had a law on the books that gay men and women were forbidden from adopting a child.  Florida not only enacted a so-called Defense of Marriage Act statute but enshrined its opposition to same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution.  Further, even once Florida courts ruled that the state must recognize marriage between people of the same sex, it was unclear whether the state would permit same-sex divorce.

Fortunately, the state has come a long way.  The “gay adoption ban” is no longer on the books.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a ban on the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional, as is a refusal of one state to recognize a same-sex marriage solemnized in another state.  And it has become clear that circuit courts in Tampa Bay and around the state must give same-sex spouses the opportunity to dissolve their marriage.

So, at this point, can two parents of the same sex appear on a Florida birth certificate?

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Florida Trend Article Features Cordover and Collaborative Law

The April 2016 edition of Florida Trend Magazine featured Family Diplomacy managing attorney Adam B. Cordover in an article on Collaborative Divorce.  The article, titled “Avoiding a Fracas with Collaborative Divorce” (subscription required), described benefits and drawbacks of collaborative practice for executives and business owners.

You can find excerpts from the article below:

Last July, five years after launching his practice, divorce attorney Adam Cordover decided he was finished going to court.  “I’d spent most of my career fighting in court for clients and had seen the devastating effects.  I’d seen clients literally go crazy,” says Cordover.  “I decided I no longer wanted to be part of it.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Trend#/media/File:Florida_Trend_June_2012_Cover.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Trend#/media/File:Florida_Trend_June_2012_Cover.jpg

He converted his firm to a litigation-free practice focused on what’s known as collaborative law.  In a collaborative divorce, a couple agrees to settle their differences outside the courtroom through negotiations.

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US Supreme Court: Second Parent Adoptions Protected by Full Faith and Credit

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state must give full faith and credit to a judgment granting a second parent adoption issued by a court of competent jurisdiction of another state.

A second parent adoption is similar to a stepparent adoption, where one spouse adopts the other spouse’s child, except that the petitioner in a second parent adoption is not married to the child’s legal parent.  Second parent adoptions were most closely associated with same-sex partners as, until recently, same-sex marriages were not permitted or recognized in Florida and around the country.

Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svgSecond parent adoption was the only method available (where it was permitted) for many LGBT individuals to gain legal recognition as a second parent to a child.

In the case, V.L. v. E.L., 577 U.S. ___ (2016), two women, E.L. and V.L.  were in a relationship from 1995 until 2011.  About seven years into the relationship, E.L. became pregnant via assisted reproductive technology and gave birth to a child (and a couple of years later, to twins).  The women raised the children as co-parents.

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