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How being transgender can affect a child custody case

When a divorced parent in New Jersey is transgender, a child custody dispute may become especially complicated. Some court decisions in child custody cases that involve one transgender parent are affected by the judge's personal views on transgender issues. The non-transgender parent's testimony regarding the circumstances around their ex-spouse's gender transition could also impact the judge's decision.

A professor from the William & Mary Marshall-Wy the School of Law in Virginia recently commented about gender identity in child custody cases. He said that although a gender change is not inherently detrimental to a person's ability to parent, a parent's gender change could be confusing for a child to witness. If the non-transgender parent testifies that being around the transgender parent has a negative affect on the child, the judge may take this information into account when making decisions about custody and visitation.

The law professor also commented on the fact that judges can be swayed by prevailing moral attitudes. When a parent goes through a gender transition, issues about same-sex marriage can also come into play, as some states do not legally permit two parents of the same sex to share child custody. A Supreme Court decision this summer on same-sex marriages may shed some light on whether transgender parents will be subject to the rules applicable to same-sex or heterosexual couples.

A family law attorney may be able to help a transgender parent who is going through a divorce to pursue the best possible parenting plan. An attorney may help the transgender parent by gathering a strong collection of witness testimony and other evidence to establish that the parent has a positive relationship with his or her children.

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