Dwyane Wade fires back at ex-wife in new legal filing over their daughter’s name change

Dwyane Wade fires back at ex-wife in new legal filing over their daughter’s name change

Dwyane Wade has filed new documents asking the Los Angeles Superior Court to allow his 15-year-old transgender daughter Zaya Wade to legally change her name and gender because it “is in her best interest.”

According to documents obtained by TODAY.com, the retired NBA star’s most recent filing is a response to his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, submitting an objection earlier this month to prevent Zaya from receiving an updated birth certificate.

The court documents filed by Wade's legal team on Monday, Nov. 28, said, “This Petition is not about Siohvaughn or Dwyane or their prior marriage, it is about what Zaya wants and what is in her best interest. This Petition is about empowering Zaya to live her truth.”

 Dwayne Wade (right) and his daughter Zaya Wade (left). Wade is in a legal battle with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade (right), who is attempting to block their daughter's gender and name change.  (Chris Pizzello / AP / Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images)
Dwayne Wade (right) and his daughter Zaya Wade (left). Wade is in a legal battle with his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade (right), who is attempting to block their daughter's gender and name change. (Chris Pizzello / AP / Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images)

In the filing, Wade, 40, argued that as his daughter becomes a young adult, she should focus on feeling confident and joyful instead of “being clouded by the self-doubt that comes from checking a box or signing a name that does not reflect her identity.”

Wade shared in the documents that his daughter has identified as Zaya since she was 12 years old and that giving her an accurate birth certificate will allow her to live a more comfortable and honest life.

He then further addressed Funches-Wade’s objection to the gender and name change, including her claim that he wanted to profit off of Zaya and use her identity for brand partnerships.

“Siohvaughn’s allegations are libelous at their core, and are, at best, nonsensical,” the documents said. “Dwyane filed this Petition because Zaya asked him to. It is unclear if Siohvaughn’s goal is to relitigate her divorce and custody dispute with Dwyane, or to resume her campaign of personal attacks against Dwyane, but it is clear that her objections have little, if anything, to do with Zaya’s best interest.”

The former Miami Heat guard added that his custody agreement with Funches-Wade from March 14, 2011 granted him “sole care, custody and control of Zaya,” meaning he should have the final say on any major changes Zaya wants to make.

At the end of the filing, he concluded, “While it certainly would have been preferable for Zaya’s mother to be supportive of this important part of Zaya‘s journey, Zaya should not be forced to put her life on hold while she waits for Siohvaughn to acknowledge and accept her truth.”

Wade initially petitioned the court to legally recognize Zaya’s name and gender changes in August.

On Nov. 1, Funches-Wade, 41, replied to her ex-husband’s request by asking the court to require Zaya wait until “the age of majority” to make any permanent  changes to her identity, documents obtained by TODAY.com confirmed.

“I have concerns that Petitioner may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies, and will receive based upon Petitioner’s statements to me, on the basis of our child’s name and/or gender change,” she said in court documents at the time.

Funches-Wade also argued that pressure from the media could impact Zaya’s decision to change her name and gender.

Two days after Funches-Wade made headlines for her filing, Wade addressed the situation in a statement on Instagram.

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“While I’m on a life-changing trip in our motherland, Africa, I’ve received a social media post about me forcing our 15 year old child to be someone she’s not and to do something against her will,” he wrote. “These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children.”

He continued, “Zaya is not that same 3 year child anymore and she’s screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother! No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them. This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life.”

The hearing for the case is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Funches-Wade and the retired basketball player were married from 2002 to 2010. In addition to Zaya, the former couple share 20-year-old son Zaire Wade as well. Wade is also a dad to 9-year-old son Xavier, with ex-girlfriend Aja Metoyer, and 4-year-old daughter Kaavia, with wife and actress Gabrielle Union.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com