In the Fight for Transgender Legal Parental Rights, Information is Key

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As part of the struggle for full legal and social rights for the transgender community, transgender parents are fighting to protect their relationships with their children in the face of custody challenges. Parents who come out or transition after having a child with a spouse or partner have seen their gender transition raised as a basis to deny or restrict child custody or visitation. Likewise, transgender people who formed families after coming out or transitioning face challenges to their legal status as parents, often based on attacks on the validity of their marriages.

For years, the situation has demanded relevant informational resources that can enable transgender parents to defend themselves. Before she became deputy director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, Leslie Cooper wrote the milestone booklet Protecting the Rights of Transgender Parents and their Children: A Guide for Parents and Lawyers in 2013. She designed the guide to provide information to transgender parents and their attorneys to help them protect parent-child relationships and assist them when faced with disputes over child custody issues.

Utilizing Case Law, Evidence and Legal Arguments

Cooper divided the guide into two parts. In the first part she provides an overview of case law that involved challenges to the fitness of transgender parents, and the relevance of a parent’s gender transition or transgender status in custody proceedings. She then offers recommendations for parents to help ease the process of coming out to their families as transgender in order to help protect them in a future custody dispute. These recommendations include involving a therapist and/or child development expert and—if feasible—an understanding spouse. Finally, she provides suggestions for advocacy, including evidence and legal arguments for attorneys to consider using where needed in legal representation of transgender parents.

How Challenges to Legal Parental Status Work

In the second part of the guide, Cooper addresses challenges to the legal parental status of transgender parents. She starts the section with a look at the legal landscape and the ways people who become parents after coming out or transitioning may become subject to challenges to their legal status as parents. Cooper offers recommendations on how to secure one’s legal status as a parent, and presents legal arguments that can help parents faced with challenges to that status.

Cooper’s guide ends with an appendix that includes both an annotated list of cases addressing the parental rights of transgender parents, and sample expert testimony that may be relevant in some cases.

Use Your Resources to Protect Your Rights

It’s essential to inform yourself as to your options when your legal status as a transgender parent are being challenged. It’s also to your benefit to have a legal advocate from a firm that’s experienced in LGBTQQIA+ rights like Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C.

For More Information On How to Deal With Legal Challenges To Your Status as a Transgender Parent, Contact Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. Today At (503) 233-8868.

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