Gender Identity on Trial in Divorce Court

Couples in divorce court often disagree on a whole host of issues – who should get the house, how much child support a parent must pay, who gets custody of the dog. But when James Allan Scott and Rebecca Robertson, his wife of 12 years, wound up in divorce court, there was a much more profound disagreement: whether James is a man or a woman.

James is transgender. Though he was born with female…

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Divorce Court Can’t Deal With ‘A Different Category of Spouse’

“I don’t think divorce brings out the best in most people,” Joy Ladin, an English professor at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women in New York, remarks wryly.

And it can be even worse when one of the spouses is transgender. Insensitive exes, uneducated legal professionals and inadequate and sometimes biased laws can make it infinitely more painful for entire families, as Joy, who is…

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I Just Happen To Be A Parent Who Is Also Transgender

Even after 13 years, Michael Kantaras easily recalls the urgency with which he searched for a lawyer with expertise in transgender issues during his divorce. His estranged wife moved to have their 10-year marriage voided and strip Michael of his parental rights, just because he is transgender.

“Terrified. Absolutely terrified,” is how Michael describes himself at that time. He could not fathom…

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Letting a Child Be Who She Is

When Leslie Swanson* sought custody of her 4-year-old grandchild a few years ago, her lawyer’s advice about whether to disclose to the family court judge that the child is transgender wasn’t very reassuring.

“The first attorney was telling us to hide Catherine’s* gender identity, to not tell anyone, that it would negatively affect our case, and that we would be blamed for Catherine being…

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