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One of the newest issues cropping up in the offices of family law attorneys is gender identity and helping families navigate the system when they disagree. Your Family Law in Madison is no different, and Owner and President Ginger Murray is meeting more families navigating these issues.
“We’re seeing an increase in requests for family law help,” Murray said. “So a lawyer to help through when moms and dads, especially when they’re already in separate houses, are dealing with a child who has announced to one or both parents that they are considering or already working through gender identity issues and perhaps culminating in gender transitioning. So these very intimate discussions about a child’s well being when parents can’t talk without conflict is a real crisis for a kiddo who’s already tackling such huge issues and so we are here to help our clients find reasonable solutions hopefully that don’t require bringing that into the courtroom.”
Sometimes the courtroom is unavoidable and Your Family Law takes special care in those instances to put the child’s well being first.
“If we do have to file a pleading we’re discreet in how we bring up the topic and we’re looking for guardian ad litems to really understand the issues because that court appointed attorney is going to give a recommendation on what’s in the child’s best interest. The good news is the child is going to learn that he or she or they will have a voice through the guardian ad litem when these issues are brought to the court’s attention. But when we’re talking about, normally teenagers, because they’re the ones bringing these issues to their parents’ attention everybody needs to appreciate that this is not something to publicize in a court hearing this needs to be handled discreetly, it needs to be handled always keeping the child’s best interest in the forefront. It’s not an easy topic to tackle but we’re doing it.”
“If the child is taking the next step into gender transition we’re expecting that there’s a mental health professional involved. But it can get very complicated if the child has only confided in one parent or if only one parent supports what the child wishes to do to pursue the child’s goals. And that is a custodial issue, non emergency medical decisions are custodial issues and so that’s why sometimes families are reaching out to family attorneys to help navigate that really delicate and complex issue,” Murray said.
To learn more about the uniquely family oriented services at Your Family Law Center, call 608-819-6800.