“Gender-Affirming Treatments for Children” Continue to Cause Custody Issues in Florida
Parents in Florida may have wildly different views on transgenderism and gender-affirming treatments. If two parents do not agree on how this issue should be approached in regard to their own children, serious custody issues may arise. Florida has taken concrete steps with new legislation that allows certain custody decisions to be made in these situations. Of particular note is the ability of Florida family courts to take temporary emergency custody over transgender minors – even those from other states.
Bill CS/SB 254 Explained
On May 17th of 2023, Bill CS/SB 254 went into effect in Florida. It states that Florida family courts can take emergency custody over any children in the state if they have “been subjected to sex-reassignment procedures.” The law also applies to children who have been “threatened” with the same procedures. The implications of this bill are far-reaching, as the child may be a resident of another state. The parents also do not need to be residents of Florida in order to lose custody under this law.
The Bill mostly prohibits gender-affirming care for all minors, and the custody aspect of the law is a minor addition. Many people have interpreted this as a form of “state-sponsored kidnapping,” but this represents a misinterpretation of the bill. Florida is authorized to make temporary custody decisions that affect these children, but their home state would have the final say in the matter.
The main source of confusion is the definition of “serious harm” under Florida law. The bill allows the state to take physical custody of children who are at risk of serious harm, and Florida has already defined gender-affirming care as a potential example of serious harm. However, we have yet to see this bill in action, and no child has been taken into custody by the state under this law. That being said, parents are now wary – and various observers have voiced fear that they could “lose their children after a visit to Disney World.”
The key takeaway here is that lines are being drawn in the sand in regard to the transgender debate. Depending on your home state, family courts may react very differently to the prospect of gender-affirming care. For example, California has taken the exact opposite stance compared to Florida. A new bill could theoretically punish parents for refusing to “affirm their child’s gender identity.”
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Custody Attorney in Florida?
Transgenderism is just one example of a potential custody dispute. Parents may also argue over a number of other child raising decisions, such as vaccination, religious teachings, education, and much more. If you are currently embroiled in one of these disputes, a qualified Orlando custody attorney can offer assistance and guidance. Get in touch with Steve Marsee, P.A. to immediately get started with an action plan and resolve these disputes with efficiency.