Gender Non-Conforming Child Custody Attorneys in San Diego
A child that identifies differently than an assigned birth gender can be the source of very complicated issues in a child custody case. The concept of a “transgender” individual is not yet fully outlined in state law and can pose many challenges for the gender-affirming parent when attempting to resolve child custody, as the parents may not agree on the gender issues regarding a shared child.
The court makes decisions about child custody based on what is believed to be in the best interests of the child. One parent may accept that the child identifies differently than the birth gender, while the other parent may not. These opposing views lead to a complicated legal situation that may require resolution in family court.
The decision regarding custody, as listed in the California Family Code, requires the court to consider a range of factors impacting a child’s physical and emotional health. What is in the best interests of gender non-conforming children may be a point of serious disagreement between the parents.
A child custody dispute can arise if one parent, whether for religious, social, or personal reasons, does not accept a child’s wish to identify differently than the birth gender, while the other parent is gender-affirming. As a result, the case will be presented to the court from two very different perspectives.
One parent may claim that the other is emotionally abusive by failing to accept the child’s wishes regarding gender identity. The other parent may argue that gender issues are being forced on a child who is too young to make decisions about gender identity. These two conflicting perspectives create a situation that a family court judge may find very troublesome to resolve fairly.
While the courts are currently poorly equipped to address the challenges of mediating child custody battles related to disputes on gender identity, the skill with which the case is presented to the court is the most critical point in achieving a favorable decision for the gender-affirming parent in a child custody case.
In essence, the court may need to be educated on transgender issues by hearing testimony from experts on transgender and gender non-conforming children, particularly when dealing with accusations that a parent who accepts the child’s decision is endangering the child. This delicate subject must be addressed with the highest level of professionalism, outstanding legal skills, and respect for the issue.
Family court judges are human and are subject to bias. Your child custody lawyer must be aware of the general perspective of the judge in the case when crafting the presentation for child custody. The process will include:
- Identifying the most credible expert witnesses to provide expert testimony on the subject of transgender children.
- Preparing witnesses to contest any assertion that the gender-affirming parent has influenced the child in this matter.
- Working to resolve the matter out of court, whenever possible to determine a reasonable resolution for child custody, with a focus on avoiding a contentious approach.
- Ensuring the child has been thoroughly evaluated by a clinical expert in the subject of transgender children.
- An investigation into the source of the other parent’s beliefs, if religion plays a role.
- Researching current case law.
- Developing a fully supported, persuasive case to present to the court.
If you have concerns about retaining or gaining custody for a transgender or gender non-conforming child, your case demands superior legal skills and a depth of experience. At Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., we take on these cases with professional expertise, knowledge, and experience. As your child’s emotional health is at stake, you need to be confident that in your child custody lawyer. If you are facing a child custody battle in San Diego on this subject, we urge you to connect with our firm immediately at (858) 458-9500 to discuss your options.