Cases & Advocacy

In re Marriage of S.

Status: Closed

Outcome: Loss

Location: Illinois

NCLR assisted S., a transgender father in Chicago. S. has lived his entire adult life as a male and has undergone medical treatment for sex-reassignment. He also had his birth certificate changed to reflect his male gender. S. married in 1985. He and his wife had a child together in 1992 through alternative insemination. When S. filed for divorce in 1998, his wife counter-petitioned to have their marriage declared void and to terminate S.’s parental rights.

All three therapists who evaluated the family found the mother to be unstable and recommended that S. be given custody. Despite these recommendations, the trial court gave custody to S.’s ex-wife and held that S. is not a legal parent, solely because he is transgender. In 2005, the Illinois Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court judgment, and the Illinois Supreme Court declined S.’s request for further review.