Florida courts do not weigh a parent’s gender when determining child custody. However, in some countries, gender matters. Why? Because the law can make a presumption that during a child’s “tender” years, around age four and under, the mother is awarded child custody. One father in Ecuador decided to tilt the odds in his favor by changing his gender.
Paying the Cuenta in Cuenca
On the morning of December 30, 2022, in the dusty town of Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca, Ecuador, René Salinas Ramos decided to change his gender from male to female and fight for custody of his two daughters. Salinas had a major complaint about the country’s child custody laws. Namely, the laws gave more rights to the mother than the father.
“My actions are not against anyone in particular but against the system. Being a father in this country, Ecuador, is punished and seen only as a provider.”
The Father was interviewed by La Voz del Tomebamba radio. During the interview he showed his new country ID card, which has his new gender data, “FEMENINO.” However, his ID contains the same names with which he was enrolled with originally over 47-years ago.
While the ID card has his gender as “femenino”, he still identifies himself as a cisgender male. Ecuador passed a law in 2015 that allows people to legally change their gender on government-issued documents.
Florida Child Custody
I’ve written about child custody before. Unlike Ecuador for example, Florida does not apply the “tender years doctrine” anymore. Florida has the parenting plan concept. For purposes of establishing a parenting plan, the best interest of the child, not the gender of the parent, is the primary consideration.
In Florida, the best interests of the child are determined by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family, including the mental and physical health of the parents.
Some of those factors include the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required, and of course, the mental and physical health of the parents. None of the statutory factors involve the gender or sex of the parent and child.
It is also the public policy of Florida that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate and to encourage both parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.
When it comes to the parents’ gender, Florida makes no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.
In Florida, the court must order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.
Género, patria y libertad!
According to Salinas, his daughters live with their mother in an environment in the midst of violence. These allegations of violence are reportedly denounced. Salinas boasts that now that he is a woman, he can be a mother and is on an equal footing to fight for the parental authority of his daughters.
“It is more than five months that I do not see my daughters. I can also be a mother, I know how to cook, give love, iron and other activities of a mother.”
However Salinas never explained what prevents Salinas from approaching the children. In the Father’s opinion, justice is biased in favor of women when it comes to parenting and, according to Salinas, to be on an equal footing, he no longer wants to be called dad, but mom.
“The laws say that the one who has the right is the woman. As of this moment, I am female. Now I’m also a mom, that’s how I consider myself. I am very sure of my sexuality. What I have sought is that I want to be a mother, so that I can also give the love and protection of a mother.”
Until this matter is resolved the children have to stay with their mother he told the media. The law is taking away our right to be parents and changing his official ID to show a new gender “is a proof of love.”
Salinas Ramos is reportedly the first man in Ecuador to use gender laws to gain the upper hand in a custody battle, and news of the gender change has set off criticism from transgender activists in the South American country.
Money may also be an issue. According to reports, the judicial system portal may reflect that the Father maintains a debt with his former and current spouse. This amounts to $10,766 for alimony.
Regarding the breach of this responsibility, Salinas justified that in the case of the current spouse he made an agreement, because he paid all the basic services and school obligations. Additionally, he mentioned a document signed by the mother in which she renounces the debt, but Salinas did not show it, and the document does not appear to be recorded in the computer system either.
Salinas hopes that the issue of the possession of girls will continue to be debated not only at the social level, but also in the Assembly. He acknowledged that after his gender change on the ID he has received calls for support from organizations and even politicians, but he does not want the issue to be mixed with the campaign and preferred not to approach them.
The La Voz Del Tomebamba article is here. (en Español)