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?
The Tampa Tribune recently reported that the Union for Reform Judaism (“URJ”) passed a resolution in support of transgender rights. The resolution of the URJ, representing approximately 1.5 million American Jews, is the most wide-reaching indication of support for transgender equality.
The resolution did not mandate changes to Reform synagogues or require them to spend money on changes, though it did set suggested protocols on welcoming transgender and non-gender-conforming individuals.
Caitlyn Jenner’s transition and reality TV show has raised awareness about transgender issues. However, for many Floridians, there are still a lot of questions. Some basic questions are: What do you call a transgender person? Which pronouns do you use?
PrideHealth, which is an organization out of Canada that “provides safe and accessible primary health care services for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ),” has produced a video to help answer these questions.
Though the video is directed to healthcare providers, it is helpful for legal services providers and anyone who does not want to alienate potential trans clientele.
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?
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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