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:
Joseph Maldonado-Passage has been known by many names. Tiger King. Joe Exotic. Joseph Schreibvogel. But the legal name, according to reports, of this convicted felon whose story has become a Netflix obsession is Joseph Maldonado-Passage.
The Tiger King’s surname is in honor of a late husband and a current husband. Reports are not clear whether his name was legally changed via marriage or through a court process. Regardless, if you are a Florida resident, chances are that you are eligible for a name change.
The new year can be a time for turning over a new leaf, and it may be a time when you are considering adopting a new legal name. Whether you are looking to share a last name with a partner, honor a loved one, adjust your name to reflect your gender identity, reconnect with recently discovered family, correct errors on your birth certificate, or just plain refresh your identity, we are a collaborative family law firm that can help you petition for a new legal name.
A New Legal Name Requires a Court Judgment
You may not realize that the process of petitioning for a new legal name is a court process. In fact, section 68.07 of the Florida Statutes lays out the legal requirement to change your name and what must be filed with the court. Under the name change law, you must swear under oath whether, among other things, the following apply to you:
Do you have a father who has done things that you are not exactly proud of? Do you have a parent who has gained notoriety in your community? Are the actions or reputation of a relative beginning to negatively impact you?
Well, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, Paul Manafort’s daughter decided to do something about it. Paul Manafort is the former campaign manager to President Trump who was convicted for tax and bank fraud and pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian interest. Because of this and the spectacle it has caused, his daughter decided to legally change her last name.
And, you know what? In most cases, you, too, can change your legal name.
Required Petition for A Legal Name Change
Section 68.07 of the Florida Statutes lays out the requirements of a name change.
You must file a petition with the court that is signed under oath and includes, among other things, the following information:
- That you live in the county where you are petitioning for a name change;
- Whether you have ever gone through bankruptcy;
- Whether you have ever been arrested for or charged with a crime;
- Whether you have ever been required to register as a sexual predator or a sexual offender;
- Whether you have ever been successfully sued;
- That you are not seeking a name change for any illegal or ulterior purpose; and
- That your civil rights have never been suspended or, if they have, that your rights have been fully restored.
By the way, just because you have gone through bankruptcy, lost a lawsuit, or have been arrested does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a name change.
Background Check for A Legal Name Change
You will also need to have your fingerprints electronically scanned for a background check. The check is conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI to confirm that the information in your petition is correct.
Name Change Lawyer
Once you have filed your petition and completed the background check, in most counties you will need to go in front of a judge to complete the process. The judge swears you in, and you provide testimony and any evidence that is requested to prove up your petition.
Because the paperwork involved in the name change process can be onerous, and because most people do not have a lot of experience dealing with the court system, you should consider having a name change lawyer by your side throughout the process.
You may relate to Manafort’s daughter’s desire “to separate myself and my work from public perception that has nothing to do with the person that I am.”
We can help you do that.
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.
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.
The Associated Press is reporting that a transgender man’s request to change his legal name has been rejected by a Georgia Superior Court Judge. The man, a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, wants to change his legal name from Rebeccah Elizabeth Feldhaus to Rowan Elijah Feldhaus.
In rejecting the request, Judge J. David Roper wrote, “The question presented is whether a female has the statutory right to changer her name to a traditionally and obviously male name. The Court concludes that she does not have such right.”
So would a transgender person’s petition for a change of legal name to reflect their gender identity be granted in Tampa Bay, Greater Sarasota, or elsewhere in Florida?
Many Floridians want to change their legal name. Sometimes it is because they recently found out that the name they have always used is different than the name on their birth certificate, and they are now unable to renew their driver’s license under the federal REAL ID Act. Sometimes it is because they want to honor a stepparent or foster parent by taking on a surname. Sometimes it is because they want to take on a name that matches their gender identification.
And sometimes it is because they simply don’t like their current legal name.
Whatever the reason, many people who do seek a name change wonder, “Do I need a lawyer?”
Floridians seeking to change their legal name can take comfort in the fact that changing one’s name has a long history rooted in the Hebrew Bible. A great article in the Jewish Encyclopedia titled “Shinnuy Ha-Shem” (which translates roughly as “Changing the Name”) discusses biblical name changes.
In the book of Genesis we learn that forefather Abram changed his name to Abraham, and foremother Sarai changed her name to Sarah.
Many of us remember Pee-Wee Herman from the Groundlings and children’s programming and movies in the 1980’s. More recently, you may have seen Paul Reubens, the man who plays Pee-Wee, appear on various TV shows, including the Blacklist, Portlandia, and Reno 911.
But, what you may not know is before Paul Reubens was Pee-Wee Herman, he was Paul Rubenfeld.