Dwyane Wade Responds to Ex-Wife's Objection to Daughter Zaya's Name Change Petition

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Dwyane Wade is firing back in court over his ex-wife's objection to have their daughter, Zaya, who was born Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, legally change her name and gender. 

According to court documents, obtained by ET, the NBA legend says that granting the petition is in Zaya's best interest. The documents state, "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 [Funches-Wade] to acknowledge and accept her truth."

Wade makes it crystal clear that the petition, filed by Wade on Aug. 22 on Zaya's behalf, "is not about Siohvaughn or Dwyane or their prior marriage, it is about what Zaya wants and what is in her best interest." He added, "This petition is about empowering Zaya to live her truth."

Siohvaughn had previously claimed in court, among other things, that Dwyane was "pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies."

Dwyane refuted those claims, saying in his response that "even though it is not the name that was given to her at birth, Zaya has identified as Zaya since she was twelve years old, and she now wants to legally and officially affirm her identity."

As for Siohvaughn's claims that Dwyane has not contacted her or asked her about the name and gender change decision in adherence to the custody agreement they reached when they finalized their divorce, Dwyane says in his filing that he sought her input on the matter when his legal team sent her a letter via mail and email on April 28 "detailing Zaya's desire to proceed with the petition and seeking Siovaughn's support in the matter."

Five days later, Dwyane claims Siohvaughn responded via email and stated "she would not engage in any discussion about 'elective matters' until her relationship and bond with her child was 'completely healed and restored.'"

Furthermore, Dwyane claims that the custody agreement they struck in their divorce settlement says "Dwyane shall consider Siohvaughn's input prior to any major decision being made. However, even after such discussion, Dwyane shall have the final decision on such issues." The three-time NBA champion was awarded sole custody of Zaya in 2011.

Dwyane is adamant his ex-wife is grasping at straws in an effort to block Zaya's name and gender change request with procedural objections, like when she argued that the petition, filed in Los Angeles, should be denied because Dwyane had not registered the Final Custody Judgment in California. The Final Custody Judgment was initially struck in Illinois.

Dwyane's attorneys claim Siohvaughn's argument "lacks merit" because, for starters, there's no requirement he register the FCJ in California, and the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County is the proper jurisdiction because Dwyane and Zaya have been Los Angeles County residents since 2019.

Dwyane initially broke his silence on his ex-wife's objections earlier this month, but his filing in court now puts it on the record.

In response to Siohvaughn's claims that he was trying to exploit their child, Dwyane took to Instagram and said she "tried a similar attempt over a decade ago (with equally damaging lies and causing irreparable harm to her children) and 13 lawyers later, I was awarded sole custody of our two kids as an active NBA player!"

The proud father also praised Zaya for maintaining a 4.0 GPA in honors classes "while navigating all this unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality."


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