A lot has happened since a parent last saw her son in 2009. Her ex-spouse moved with the boy from California to Plano, Texas. And the parent underwent gender reassignment surgery, transitioning from a man to a woman. The woman believes it is time her son, age 13, learns that his father is now a woman. Will a court agree to let that happen?
The transgender woman and her ex-spouse married in California in 1991 and had two boys together before divorcing five years later. After they reunited, their youngest son was born. They split for good three years later, and a four-year child custody battle ensued. The father, who had not yet transitioned to a female, was awarded primary custody. In 2009, the mother moved with the two youngest children to Texas while their father underwent gender reassignment. The youngest son was not told about the surgery. The boy’s mother has now gone to court to keep him from learning the truth.
The mother claims the father’s parental rights should be terminated for emotional abuse and abandonment. In court filings, she has asserted the boy would suffer irreparable emotional harm if his father exercised visitation rights. The father, who is now a woman, disagrees there are any grounds to terminate her parental rights, noting that she has remained in regular telephone contact with the boy.
There is little case law dealing with the custody rights of transgender parents in Texas. In resolving this dispute, the court will determine what is in the best interests of the child. In any custody dispute, an experienced family law attorney can help a parent fight for a result that promotes the child’s best interests while protecting the parent’s rights.
Source: Dallas Voice, “Trans woman fights for right to see son,” Anna Waugh, Nov. 16, 2012