The simple answer is, being transgender does not affect your right to get married. The United States Supreme Court Case, Obergefell v. Hodges requires all states to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Your biological sex assigned at birth cannot affect your ability to marry. However, there are some steps you should consider taking when heading for marriage.
Transitioning is a long process, and some transpersons do not desire a full transition. Gender is not defined by what’s between your legs. There are varying levels of understanding when it comes to transpersons and transitioning and it’s best to protect yourself as much as possible. Before marriage, you and your intended spouse should enter into a Memorandum of Understanding. This document explicitly states that the cisgender spouse is aware you are transgender or undergoing transition. This proof can protect you from a voidable marriage if anyone were to allege fraud or deceit regarding your gender identity. By signing this document, your soon-to-be-spouse is recognizing you and memorializing their respect and love for you.
In addition to the Memorandum of Understanding, it is strongly recommended to create advanced healthcare directives. These documents direct medical providers on what to do in the event you are unable to make decisions regarding your medical treatment. An advanced healthcare directive addresses how difficult medical decisions are to be handled and removes the chance for misunderstandings by healthcare personnel.
Marriage requires a lot of planning. If you are transgender, we encourage you to get a court order gender change. Additionally, it’s important to amend your birth certificate to reflect your gender identity prior to signing the marriage license. If you are wanting to change your name, we suggest doing so with the assistance of the courts.
We understand that transition can be both an exciting and frightening time. In addition to all of the physical changes your body undergoes, transgender persons also experience societal transitions. Therefore, it is understandable that you may be reluctant to go into court and speak in front of a judge about your identity. However, not completing the necessary paperwork could potentially deny you and your spouse from marriage-related benefits. It is extremely important you protect your cisgender spouse just as it is important for you to protect yourself. Schedule your legal document changes as needed. As with any legal matter, it is best to consult with an attorney to help you through this process.
Marriage is a beautiful union between two persons. For all of the lawyers at Modern Family Law, it is important to us that people are educated on all of the nuances and challenges we have seen transgender persons face. Marriage is a special bond between you and your partner, and Modern Family Law can help you prepare for, protect and nurture your marital relationship. Then, on the big day when you both say “I do,” you will only be thinking about the one thing which really matters, each other.
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