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Do The Family Courts Treat Transgender Parents Differently?

By | - December 26, 2022

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

In this recent case, the Children’s Aid Society commenced a protection application due to concerns about the incidents of physical violence and emotional outbursts towards the children and their transgender parents’ mental and emotional health.

The court heard a motion brought by the Children’s Aid Society for an order that the parents’ medical records be disclosed. The Children’s Aid Society argued that the parents’ medical records would reveal relevant and probative information as to the parents’ history of mental health challenges and struggles and how this could have caused them abuse the children.

The parents strongly opposed the release of their medical records on the basis of personal privacy. 

The Family Court Judge considered both arguments and, in the end, dismissed the motion for a variety of reasons including:

1. The Children’s Aid Society failed to establish an adequate link to justify such an intrusion into a patient-doctor relationship; 

2. Disclosure of the parents’ medical records would impinge upon privacy interests and cause damage to their therapeutic relationships;

3. There was an inadequate link between instances of violence and the mental health of the parents;

4. Allowing the parents to maintain the sanctity of their patient-doctor relationships was essential to their ongoing treatment and, therefore, was in the children’s best interests. 

As it turns out, this Family Court Judge treated these transgender parents just the same as any other parents – with honour, respect and dignity.

CASE LINK: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2022/2022onsc6752/2022onsc6752.html

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