On every parenting plan is a little box to mark, indicating which parent (or combination of parents) has the right to decide on medical care for their child after a divorce is complete. With older children, their own wishes may come into play, but until they are 18 kids will have to seek parental approval for any elective procedures. An experienced family law attorney can help you to understand your rights and responsibilities during and after divorce or separation.
For transgender kids there is no easy answer. Recently the Seattle Times posted an insightful article “Transgender kids: a family quest, a medical quandary” which discusses some of the thorny issues that can arise in medical transition. The piece describes a 15-year-old boy, born female who is hoping to transition to male with the help of breast removal surgery. This surgery could have been prevented had she taken certain “puberty-blocking” medication. Deciding when and how to transition is clearly a very personal process, made more difficult by decisions and views of one's parents.
“It gets really murky in the pediatric population,” said Dr. Alexander Gougoutas, a UW Medicine surgeon quotes in the article. “It draws out all sorts of questions about informed consent. Are they truly able to make these decisions? Are their minds going to change? Are their parents influencing their decisions?” Then think about adding issues of co-parenting and shared decision making into the mix and an educated and thoughtful family law attorney can become a much needed resource.
This article helps to shine a light on the decision making power of that little box in the parenting plan. If your child decides to transition, your legal choices through your divorce will color who gets to decide when and how your child will do so medically. To speak with an experienced legal team about your family law options in divorce, or creating a parenting plan contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC. We provide a free consultation regarding your child custody issues. For more information about custody or parenting plans please visit our website.