How to support your transgender child during divorce - advice from Divorce Lawyers in Ontario - Shulman Law Firm

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How to Support Your Transgender Child During Divorce

Deciding to separate is challenging at the best of times. There are so many difficult conversations to tackle with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Often, communication can break down under the pressure. Negotiations during a divorce can be a very sensitive matter. With potential to be financially and emotionally draining for the soon to be separated couple. These circumstances can further complicate when a couple is divorcing and co-parenting a transgender child.

Families in this situation need to understand they have a very crucial role to play in their transgender child’s life as the research is very clear in this area. Parents who nurture and support their transgender child will help their child to have higher self-esteem and mental health. They will also have more positive outcomes in the future than children not raised in this type of environment.

Parents who are coming to terms with separating from one another need will need to grapple with their differences. And how will they work out their differences while supporting their transgendered child. They will also need to think about the strategies will they employ to resolve the personal and financial matters. Ones that will need to be worked out to legally end the relationship and successfully co-parent their transgendered child. Read on to learn what factors parents in this situation will need to consider.

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Are you and your ex on the same page on how you will support and counsel your transgender child?

If you plan to share custody of your transgendered child and do not share the same philosophy on how you will parent, now is the time to investigate alternative ways to address this. Ways that could lead to a more harmonious financial and family situation.

The Limitations of Family Court

Are you unable to resolve the matter with your ex on how will co-parent? You can seek the assistance of the family court to help with negotiating custody arrangements and parenting time. Keep in mind, the goal of family court is to act in the best interests of the child. This means weighing the arguments of yourself and the co-parent’s argument against each other. Looking at the other evidence presented in the case, to determine what is in your child’s best interests. To further the case, you may also choose to appoint a court-appointed guardian to work with all parties involved, including your child. To give a voice to what your child is going through, as well as to provide a recommendation for the courts.

In the case of a transgender child, in particular, expert witness testimony would likely be relied on. This may include your child’s doctor or therapist and individuals familiar with your child’s circumstances and can speak on behalf of the child’s gender identity. In this type of case, the collaboration between the child, the parents, and the child’s medical team is essential in the law determining what is best for the child. Unfortunately, if there is a communication breakdown, taking your ex to court can lead to a lengthy legal battle. The truth is, the courts still have a lot to learn when it comes to issues related to gender and children. So it may not be the best place to resolve your issues.

Consider Mediation

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Process may be a better option for you and your family. These processes focus on addressing both the legal aspects of divorce and the emotional health of the parties involved during and after divorce. An ADR process can be part of a holistic approach to resolving family disputes now and in the future. Especially as your child begins to determine how they will address their sexuality, and approach gender re-assignment. Other issues to address may include changing gender identity on birth certificates or information about the child’s sex on health insurance plans. 

You and your ex will need to have many conversations in the future about this. Including how you will finance medical costs associated with their transition and when the right time may be to move forward with gender reassignment. Determining how you will support your child through all of this will be crucial. Creating the most amicable separation with your partner now will be key to keeping the door open for ongoing healthy communication.

Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Family Therapy for Yourself and Your Transgender Child

The unique needs of a family who is going through and supporting a transgender child should not be underestimated. The journey to healing in any divorce can be a long and arduous process. Especially when factoring in how you will co-parent your transgendered child. Don’t underestimate the benefits of getting therapy for your family.  Be intentional about the future you want to create for yourself and your transgender child. Take the well-being of the family into account as you negotiate your separation.

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