Boy in child custody case ordered to stop dressing like a girl

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute LLP posted in Family Law on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.

When a husband and wife with children separate, the family separates, too. Decisions must then be made over what happens to those children. If the parents cannot agree on child custody arrangements, the issue must be resolved before the court. Once in the courtroom, however, things can go beyond the control of the parents and the outcomes are not always pleasing. One such event took place in an Alberta court late last year.

A divorced Alberta mother and father found themselves in a Medicine Hat courtroom in Dec. 2016, disputing child custody arrangements for their 4-year-old son, whom they shared custody of at the time. The mother was the primary caregiver for the boy, a boy who identified himself as a girl. The mother told the father she intended to allow the boy to continue to dress and behave like a girl. Within weeks he was seeking primary custody and blaming her for the child’s gender confusion.

The judge presiding over the case allowed the mother to retain primary custody but ordered the boy to stop dressing like a girl while in public. In Feb. 2016, the case was back in court, and this time a new judge awarded primary custody to the father while maintaining the dress code handed down previously. And in Sept. 2016, a third judge revised the original decision, stating that the child must be provided with both male and female clothes from which to choose.

The process of litigation allows the courts to make decisions about very personal matters during a divorce, including child custody proceedings. Sometimes, this is unavoidable, and good counsel from a family law attorney may help one to get through the process with a minimum of distress. It may also be possible to avoid the courts altogether; a family law firm that offers alternative dispute resolution in Alberta might be able to find another way for separated parents to reach an agreement.

Source: Calgary – CBC News, “Judges order 4-year-old boy not to wear girls’ clothes in southeastern Alberta city“, Colleen Underwood, Oct. 24, 2016

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