A new study suggests that LGBT parents may face more bias in court regarding child custody than heterosexual parents. Court decisions tend to favor a heterosexual parent as a choice for custody over a gay or lesbian parent, Drexel University researchers found.
While previous research shows that gay parents are as effective as their straight counterparts in parenting skills, and that children raised by gay parents are as well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents, there still tends to be favoritism for straight parents over gay parents when it comes to awarding custody. The researchers hope that this new research could impact how courts make custody decisions.
Restrictions on Gay Parents
The study found that in many states a partner who “comes out” and leaves a heterosexual relationship may risk losing custody of the children and even having visitations restricted. The courts have also struggled with how to award custody when same-sex partners split.
The researchers in this study recommended that legislators and policymakers think about the research that exists on gay parenting. This research should be used to guide policy, according to the researchers, and ensure that fair legal decisions that reflect the best interests of children are made. The study was published in the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.
The changing legal landscape now incorporates gay marriages in many states, so judges and legislators are going to have to begin thinking about these alternative marriages and parenting issues when making custody decisions. These decisions should be informed by current law and psychological studies that give the facts on gay partners and parents. This will prevent reliance on emotion and possible bias in the courtroom against same-sex partners or parents who have announced their intention to live a same-sex lifestyle after being married.
Finding Help in Child Custody Cases
Whether men are seeking a divorce to live a different lifestyle or have been informed by a partner that the marriage is over, it is important for them to protect their right to see their children. The Men’s Legal Center helps men who are faced with divorce and child custody issues to protect their rights in a legal landscape that may not always favor their interests. Contact the Men’s Legal Center today for more information on how you can protect your parental rights.