A divorce is always an emotional process for everyone involved, especially when a family with children is splitting up. Making decisions as a couple may be difficult when emotions are running high. However, when family law issues, such as child custody, go to court to be litigated rather than worked out collaboratively, the emotional damage and exposure of personal issues may be even more difficult to cope with. An example of this was seen here in Alberta recently.
Two parents were engaged in a child custody dispute in a Medicine Hat courtroom. At the centre of the dispute was their 5-year old son. The child identifies itself as a girl and often chooses to dress in girls’ clothing. The boy’s father blamed the mother for the behaviour and sought custody of the child, who had been in his mother’s care.
A judge ruled the boy should not be allowed to wear feminine clothing in public, but could continue to do so in the privacy of his home. A second judge upheld the ruling of the first, and custody was awarded to the father. A third judge overturned the clothing ban, deciding that the boy should be allowed to choose whatever clothing he liked. The custody arrangement, however, remained the same after the third hearing.
It is unfortunate that such a deeply personal family situation had to be ruled on in a court of law. If litigation over a matter of family law is unavoidable, an attorney who practices in the field may be a helpful partner. Perhaps preferable would be for couples facing divorce in Alberta to each consult a family law firm able to help work out separation and child custody issues collaboratively.
Source: Metro News, “Alberta judges ordered boy not to wear girls clothes in public”, Oct. 24, 2016