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Recently, courts are using the best interest of the child standard in custody cases where parents disagree about raising a child as transgender. In some instances, transgendered children are seeking the court’s assistance to ensure their right to change their identity without parental consent. This may include the ability to access hormone therapy, change his or her name, or get surgeries.

In Sacklow v. Betts, a recent New Jersey Court Case, a mother of a transgender child was seeking approval from the court to change the child’s name from a female name to a male name, regardless of the father’s disapproval. When the court considered name change application, it applied the best interest of the child standard to allow the name change. Here are the factors that the court considered:

  • Age of the child;
  • Length of time that the child used the preferred name;
  • Any discomfort that would result from the child having a name that does not match their identity;
  • Any history of counseling;
  • The name that others know the child by;
  • The child’s preference for a name change;
  • Why a parent(s) will not consent; and
  • Whether both parents consent.

According to the opinion, this is a framework for courts to utilize in determining whether a name change is in the best interest of a minor child when a parent will not consent.

The Suffolk County family lawyers at Larry McCord & Associates, LLC have experience in all aspects of child custody and family law matters. The complexities of divorce and custody cases can be overwhelming and emotional. For more information about our legal services or to schedule a consultation, call our Babylon family lawyers at (631) 643-3084 or fill out our contact form.

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