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New book, law aim to help transgender people navigate family court

With the recent laws allowing same-sex marriage, same-sex couples have begun to acquire the same rights as opposite-sex couples. However, across Massachusetts many transgender individuals have not been offered the same protections with regards to divorce and other family law matters. One individual’s wish to change these inequalities has resulted in a publication that may serve as a guide for many looking for legal remedies through the family court system.

Under a recent law that was passed in Massachusetts, it is now illegal to discriminate against a person because of his or her gender identity, and violent acts for the same reason are now considered hate crimes. Until this law passed, transgender individuals were heavily scrutinized in the judicial process, according to an editor of a new book about transgender family law. This included courts holding their transgender status against them in child custody and divorce proceedings. A large number of these cases, however, were never even tried, as the individuals instead choose to negotiate a settlement for fear of what would happen if they litigated the matter before a judge.

This publication also contains information on asset division and other family law matters. Recent readers have praised the publication for guiding them through difficult legal matters involving transgender marriages and divorces. There is also a substantial amount of other information that helps individuals represent transgender clients more effectively, including how to properly introduce them in court.

With the same-sex marriage movement gaining momentum across the country, many transgender individuals may have been overlooked in the process. However, now that their rights to equal protection under Massachusetts law have been established, they will hopefully be granted fair determination with regard to child custody and other family law matters. By seeking the proper advice with regards to their rights in court, a transgender individual can now fairly litigate these rights in the hope that they will receive an order that serves their best interest and those of their family.

Source: Masslive.com, “Transgender rights make slight headway in Massachusetts and beyond,” Stephanie Barry, July 21, 2012

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