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Could transgender child issues cost parents custody?

Transgender people -- including children -- are a hot political topic these days. If the parents of a transgender child are divorced and in disagreement about how the issue should be handled, could that affect one parent's custody and visitation rights?

A father of twins believes that it is the sole issue keeping him from seeing his children. According to his statements, the father found himself in jail for supporting his transgender child. According to the child's mother and the court, his support was actually coercive abuse.

The twin children are biologically female, but the father claims one announced that "she" was actually a "he" and unhappy living as a girl. Wanting to handle the issue in a supportive way, the father bought one twin typically male clothing, decorated his room like a boy's and eschewed typically feminine toys (like dolls) in favor of those more typically appreciated by little boys (like toy cars).

The mother of the children, however, claims that it's all fiction -- that neither of the girls identify as a boy. The father, she says, is pushing this psychological agenda on the child against her will.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the parents come from drastically different backgrounds -- the father from a more socially liberal one and the mother from a religiously conservative one. The father found himself slapped with a restraining order and accusations of child abuse, but sincerely thought that he could present a solid case to the judge for his actions. He now believes the judge, a conservative and highly religious individual, to be biased. Two doctors, hired by his ex-wife, claimed that he was acting solely to get some form of revenge on his ex-wife and that his "abuse" was even quasi-sexual.

His parenting rights have now been stripped from him and he has to undergo quite a few hoops, including therapy, if he wishes to even regain visitation.

But could things have gone another way, in another court? Judges have wide latitude when it comes to deciding what is in a child's best interests -- a more socially liberal judge could have found the mother's denial of the transgender issue abusive instead.

This type of issue is a landmine for divorced parents. If you and an ex-spouse disagree on a hot-button issue, like a child's gender identity or sexuality, seek legal advice immediately to protect your parental rights.

Source: www.dallasobserver.com, "A North Texas Father Ends Up in Jail Over Fight About 4-Year-Old's Gender," Christian McPhate, Aug. 14, 2017

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