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