Florida Court Upholds Alimony Obligation for Transgender Ex-Spouse: Lambda Legal Says 'Good News, Bad News'
"Today's ruling is a good news, bad news decision. While the end result of the court ruling is good for our client, part of how we got there is bad for the transgender community as a whole in Florida."
(Clearwater, FL, March 29, 2007) — In response to a ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court for Pinellas County that rejected an attempt to terminate previously agreed to and ordered alimony for an ex-spouse because he is transgender, Lambda Legal issued this statement from Greg Nevins, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta and Cole Thaler, Transgender Rights Attorney at Lambda Legal:
“Today’s ruling is a good news, bad news decision. While the end result of the court ruling is good for our client, part of how we got there is bad for the transgender community as a whole in Florida. This is the precise example of why it is damaging to chain people to the gender on their birth certificate. It’s wrong to call our client a woman when Julio is a man.”
Lambda Legal represents Julio Silverwolf (formerly Julia Roach) in a lawsuit brought by Lawrence Roach who argued that he no longer should have to pay alimony because Julio transitioned from female to male. The couple had been married for 18 years during which time Julio (then Julia) did not work outside the home, at Lawrence’s request. Part of the divorce proceedings included a non-modifiable obligation to pay alimony until death or remarriage of the wife, which the Court agreed had not occurred. The Court ordered the alimony payments to continue, but also stated that Silverwolf would not be recognized as a man under Florida statutes.
Co-counsel in the case are Guy M. Burns, Jonathan Coleman and Jennifer Reh of the Tampa and Clearwater, Florida offices of Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLC.
The case is Roach v. Roach n.k.a. Silverwolf.
Jackie Yodashkin 212-809-8585 ext.229
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.