Several years ago, there was little discussion regarding a child’s gender identity. However, it has become more common for a child to question whether he or she is being raised in the manner that best represents his or her personal feelings. It is still uncommon for gender identity to play a major role in a child custody case, such as what recently took place in Texas.
A judge recently ordered that the parents of twins continue to share custody of their children in spite of a contentious and public dispute over a child’s gender identity. A few years after the marriage was annulled in 2015, one of the children purportedly expressed a desire to identify as the opposite gender. The mother, who is a pediatrician, requested modifications to custody on the basis that the father cooperate with the child’s desire to be treated as a girl. She alleged that the father was emotionally abusive to the child.
The father contested the changes and wanted to prevent the child from exploring transgender ideas. The father purportedly took the issue public and created a blog to discuss the issue. The mother has since supported an agreement that would require the consent of both parents before the child could receive any medical or psychological treatments to further the child’s gender exploration.
There have been calls for the case to be investigated by child protective services. However, a judge has found that there has been no abuse and ordered that the parents continue to share decision-making for the children. Both parents are further ordered to protect their children’s privacy.
This case is unusual due to the interest that has been expressed by several public figures. The majority of Texas child custody cases are resolved without any interference by outside parties. Parents who are unable to reach an agreement that will best protect the best interest of their children may benefit from the guidance of an experienced attorney.