Residents in the Manchester area may have heard of the court case where a mother has had her child taken out of her care and given into the custody of his father after she raised the boy as a girl. Mermaid, a charity that provides support for young people who identify with the opposite gender, has protested that the court ruling has denied the 7-year-old boy from having the opportunity to live in his true identity. The organisation has been supporting the boy and his mother for the past two years and described the ruling as unjust.
The High Court judge in the case has, in the past, noted that he has seen cases where children under the age of 6 were suffering from gender identity disorder. But in this instance, he observed that the boy's natural interests were in keeping with his gender and concluded that his mother had caused him extensive emotional harm by raising him as a girl and that she should no longer have custody of her son.
The investigation into the boy's treatment began after school staff reported their concerns about the mother's mental health and her treatment of her son. The judge also heard that the NSPCC had taken a telephone call about the family and also read a report from 2013 that resulted from a social services investigation. He said that information from a number of sources supported the initial concerns and observed that, if action had been taken at an earlier date, this would have saved the boy from emotional trauma.
A family court will consider a child's physical and emotional welfare and if a parent is able to meet the needs of the child when hearing a custody case. An experienced solicitor may be able to offer sensitive and constructive counsel when assisting a client through this legal process.