Sacklow v. Betts

163 A.3d 367 (2017)

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Sacklow v. Betts

New Jersey Superior Court
163 A.3d 367 (2017)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Veronica Betts (the child) had essentially never conformed to the gender norms of a girl. The child’s parents thought the child was just a classic tomboy. In 2011, the child’s parents divorced, and thereafter they shared joint legal custody of the child. In middle school, with the onset of puberty, the child’s mental health and general well-being dramatically deteriorated. Through the assistance of counselors, the child announced that he was transgender and identified as a male. The child was hospitalized twice for suicidal ideations related to being transgender. From 2012, the child was known to family, friends, classmates, and teammates as Trevor. The child’s father (defendant) and stepfamily were the only ones who continued to refer to the child as Veronica. The child continuously attended counseling and received a treatment plan that included the suppression of menstruation and testosterone therapy. In September 2016, the child’s mother, Janet Sacklow (plaintiff), filed a petition to have the 16-year-old child’s name legally changed from Veronica to Trevor. The child testified that he wanted to have a name that matched his outward masculine appearance and gender identity as a male. The child was committed to living his life as a male. In April 2017, the child was set to turn 17 years old. The child’s father was initially opposed to the name change, but at trial, he indicated that he would consent to it. Sacklow requested a court determination on the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Silva, J.)

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