What if My Ex and I Disagree About Our Transgender Child? 

 Posted on April 29, 2022 in Child Custody and Visitation

divorce lawyer for dadsIssues affecting individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary have received extensive coverage lately in mainstream news and other media outlets. As researchers race to find out as much as possible about gender transitioning, children, with the support of their parents, are claiming to identify as transgender at younger and younger ages. Unfortunately, the tendency of this issue to become enmeshed in politics often obscures accurate information, preventing a thorough understanding of this complicated issue. 

For divorced parents of a child who claims to be transgender, this can present some tricky dilemmas. If your ex claims to support your child’s new identity, he or she may believe that there are necessary medical procedures or treatments. You may not agree with these treatments, and even believe them to be damaging or not well understood enough to be practiced on your child. Perhaps the situation is the exact opposite - maybe you believe your child is transgender and your ex does not agree. Whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, when it comes to your child’s health and wellbeing, you do not want to take chances. 

Can One Parent Allow a Child to Transition Their Gender? 

Parents who share custody often share decision-making responsibilities. This includes decisions about a child’s medical procedures, including common transgender treatments like hormones therapies and surgeries. If you share healthcare decision-making responsibilities about medical treatment with your ex, he or she cannot decide to allow or prevent your child to transition genders without your agreement. 

These issues can even transcend into the educational and religious spheres. If you and your ex share decisions about a child’s education, you may not agree with allowing your child to express their gender at school. Your religion may frown upon the concept of gender transitioning. Whatever the reason and situation, joint custody means you and your ex will probably have to agree before any decision about gender transitioning can be made. 

Can a Judge Make the Decision For Me? 

If you or your ex are insistent on your child transitioning and you cannot agree using mediation or other dispute resolution methods, you may end up in court over the issue. Depending on where you live, this can have significant implications. The attorney general of Texas recently issued a nonbinding legal opinion encouraging state health care professionals to investigate parents of transitioning children for child abuse. However, in other places, whether a child can transition may depend on the judge’s view of whether such an issue would be in the child’s best interests. A court may even appoint a guardian ad litem to try to determine what the child needs. 

Talk to a Child Custody Attorney Near You 

These issues are complicated and the failure to act could mean serious long-term consequences for your child’s health, whether mental or physical. If you are worried that your ex is encouraging your child to medically transition genders or engaging in any other medical treatment with which you do not agree, contact an experienced child custody attorney for help. 




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