In mid-August of 2023, Insider New Jersey reported on a decision by state Superior Court Judge David Bauman regarding transgender policies for school districts in Monmouth County, finding that the school districts may not enforce their controversial policies regarding their transgender students. The procedures required the districts to inform parents if their students requested gender-affirming accommodations at school, including name changes, pronoun usage/changes, or gender-specific bathroom accommodations. In response to these policies, the state's Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Monmouth County school districts, claiming that the policies discriminated against transgender youth. The case is one of many controversies and conversations in the country regarding parental notification rights involving transgender students and gender-affirming care.
For separated or divorced parents, you may wonder if your ex-partner or spouse must inform you if your child is transgender and/or requesting gender-affirming care. Though the answer to this question is not a decided legal issue, it raises questions about parental rights and notification rights in custody disputes. If you are facing a child custody battle and need help navigating your parental rights, contact the Lento Law Firm Family Law Team or call (888) 535-3686 or our online contact form.
An Overview of Parental Rights
Custody battles can be viscous and incredibly nerve-wracking. From the onset of any custody battle, parents immediately want to know what they should ask for and what to expect in joint or sole custody requests. Many parents are not even aware of what parental rights they have and what may be at stake!
As holders of a minor's educational rights, parents have the right to access their child's school records, attend meetings at their child's school, sign off on parental requests, etc. Parents can also opt their child out of certain lessons or activities that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, such as sexual health education courses, assemblies, etc. If more severe incidents happen on campus, schools may be required to notify parents regarding specific incidents involving their child, such as bullying or medical emergencies.
Generally, parental consent is required for most medical treatments for minors. However, there are exceptions, such as emergencies or specific services related to sexual and reproductive health, drug abuse, and mental health.
Parents have the right to determine the religious upbringing of their child if it doesn't harm the child.
Custody and Visitation
Both parents generally have equal rights regarding child custody and visitation unless otherwise determined by the court based on the child's best interests. Therefore, courts most frequently default to joint custody orders unless there is good reason to order sole legal or physical custody. When one party seeks more custody than the other parent, they must show that this is in the child's best interest.
Parents can discipline their children but must not cross into abuse or neglect.
Contact a New Jersey Child Custody Attorney Today
Protecting your child's future may depend on protecting and enforcing certain parental rights. Parental rights can become much more complicated and nuanced in child custody battles. Fortunately, you don't navigate the complexities alone. Our compassionate Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm will ensure your family receives the representation it deserves. Contact us today at (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.