• Florida & Ohio men can’t stop maintenance payments to ex-wife after operation
• Lawyer argued if men can’t marry men, men shouldn’t pay alimony to men
• Judge says change no reason to stop $1,250-a-month payments
*CLEARWATER, Florida* (AP) — A woman’s sex change operation does not
free her ex-husband from his alimony obligation, a judge said Wednesday.
Attorneys for Lawrence Roach, 48, had argued his 55-year-old ex-wife’s
decision to switch genders and change her name from Julia to Julio
Roberto Silverwolf voided their 2004 divorce agreement.
“It’s illegal for a man to marry a man and it should likewise be illegal
for a man to pay alimony to a man,” said John McGuire, one of Roach’s
Circuit Judge Jack R. St. Arnold, however, ruled that in the eyes of the
law, nothing changed significantly enough to free Roach from his
$1,250-a-month obligation.
The judge said since Florida courts have ruled sex-change surgery cannot
legally change a person’s birth gender, Roach technically is not paying
alimony to a man.
Gender definitions are “a question that raises issues of public policy
that should be addressed by the Legislature, not the Florida courts,”
St. Arnold wrote.
Silverwolf’s lawyer, Gregory Nevins, said the language of the divorce
decree is clear — Roach agreed to pay alimony until his ex-wife dies or
Nevins said he and his client were pleased with the ruling, although
they disagree with Florida’s refusal to legally recognize gender
reassignment surgery.
Roach, a utility worker who has since remarried, said he will press his
fight to end the payments.
“We’re going to try everything we can,” he said. “I can’t rest until I
get satisfaction.”
The case is the second transsexual rights showdown in Pinellas County in
less than a week. On Friday, city commissioners voted 5-2 to fire
Largo’s city manager, Steve Stanton, after he announced he was a
An Ohio appeals court ruled in September 2004 that a Montgomery County
man must continue to pay alimony to his transsexual ex-wife because her
sex change wasn’t reason enough to violate the agreement.
March 29,  2007 The Associated Press

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