If you are transgender, you have probably never felt entirely comfortable conforming to your birth-assigned gender. You also may feel like society is actively working to undercut the rights of transgender parents. Consequently, when deciding whether you want to transition, you should consider how your decision could affect your child custody arrangement.
According to Planned Parenthood, transitioning involves making your outward appearance match the person who lives inside of you. Regrettably, it can be difficult to predict how a judge is likely to react to your transition.
Oregon’s nexus approach
When making custody-related determinations, Oregon judges use a nexus approach. The judge may not consider your conduct or lifestyle unless it may cause your child to experience emotional or physical harm. That is, your decision should not affect your custody determination unless there is a connection between it and some damage to your son or daughter.
The best interests of the child standard
Judges in Oregon also must consider the best interests of the child when deciding which custody arrangement is the right one. To do so, they examine six factors. While none of these factors speaks to your transgender identity or your decision to transition, you should be ready to address each of them.
Your option to negotiate
You probably have the option of negotiating a custody arrangement with your child’s other parent. If you can come up with an agreement that is acceptable to both of you, a judge is likely to honor it. Therefore, it may be beneficial to gauge your former partner’s willingness to resolve your custody matter outside of the courtroom.
Ultimately, if you worry about losing custody because of your transition, it is critical to explore all your legal options as early as possible.