Father’s rights can always be a tough issue in court, no matter the circumstance. But this is especially so for fathers that might be considered non-traditional in many circles. While Massachusetts and a handful of other states currently are leading the way of marriage equality and progress, many other states unfortunately still lag behind. Because of this, it is encouraging to see a judge assert that a transgender man still has father’s rights over his own children.
The couple, including a transgender man and a woman, had been married for nine years before they finally divorced. In this span, the couple had three children together, including one which the husband gave birth to in 2008, earning him the title of the “pregnant man”. However, apparently in 2012, the relationship ended when the couple divorced, with the husband citing that his wife had physically attacked him several different times.
Though the wife denied this and said that he had attacked her, after looking at the evidence available, a judge issued a restraining order against the wife. In addition, the transgender man has been awarded full custody of his three children in their divorce. Though their mother is allowed to see her children for six hours each week, the parenting time must be supervised.
While it is always hard to speculate what would have happened in past decades, it is plausible that, considering the circumstances of this particular situation, the father would not be granted his father’s rights or given custody of his children due to his transgender identity. Instead, it would have been likely that the spouse with the more traditional gender role be automatically awarded custody of the children. Fortunately, in this case, the judge looked at each spouse individually to determine the best outcome for child custody. As Massachusetts and other states continue to blaze ahead, it is hoped that the other states will take up its lead as well.
Source: The Huffington Post, “‘Pregnant Man’ Divorce: Thomas Beatie Granted Sole Custody Of Children,” May 25, 2012