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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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Video: SNL Name Change

This past Saturday, Saturday Night Live returned to the airwaves for its 46th Season.  As a family law lawyer who has helped countless people throughout Florida change their legal names, I was especially intrigued and delighted by the following sketch:

 

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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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A New Legal Name for the New Year

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:

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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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Will Florida Grant a Transgender Name Change?

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?

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Do I Need A Lawyer To Change My Name 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?”

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