Teen’s gender identity at center of custody battle

Holding hands

Parenting doesn’t get any easier as children grow up to be teenagers. Even if parents still see them as kids, teenagers often feel more like adults. They start to make their own decisions and develop their own ideas on themselves and how they view the world.

In some families, this could lead to screaming matches and slammed doors. In other cases, it can lead to custody battles. For instance, a 17-year-old is at the center of a custody battle in another state between parents and grandparents who disagree over the teen’s gender identity.

Parents vs. grandparents

The teen is a biological female but wants to undergo the necessary medical treatment to become male. This includes taking hormone blockers.

The parents want the teen to wait until she turns 18 to make such an important decision. The daughter says that her parents have not just disagreed with her decision, they have made her feel unsafe at home. After reporting these feelings to a crisis chat service, the teen was temporarily placed in the custody of county services and now lives with her grandparents, who support her decision to transition.

Now the parents are fighting to regain custody so that they can continue making medical decisions on their child’s behalf for another year. The decision is now in the hands of the courts.

Best interests of the child

While this case is from another state, it highlights a couple issues that parents here in Texas can be struggling with as well.

First, it shows the complexities of assessing what is in the best interests of a child. Especially as kids get older, it can be difficult to know what this looks like and how (or if) such a decision can be made by the courts.

It also illustrates the fact that custody cases are not reserved for divorce. There are numerous scenarios in which a parent may need to pursue legal measures to secure custody rights.

With all this in mind, we urge parents who have questions or concerns about custodial rights to discuss them with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and answers.