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Review finds custody bias

Review finds custody bias

A recently published review by Drexel University showing that LGBT parents face bias in court over issues related to child custody may interest Illinois readers. The review found that a gay or lesbian person who is coming out of a heterosexual relationship could be denied custody or face visitation restrictions. For a same-sex couple, if the state does not recognize one of the parents as a legal parent, he or she may also face custody and visitation difficulties.

These difficulties occur despite research showing that lesbian and gay individuals are as skilled with parenting as heterosexuals; children of homosexual parents have been shown to be as well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents. In many states, sexual orientation is a factor in custody issues and could override the best interest of the child.

One of the Drexel study participants commented that over the past 10 years, with states legalizing same-sex marriages and society being more accepting, more children are being impacted by court decisions involving LGBT parents. The recommendation from the Drexel researchers is that legislators take into account the studies that have been done on gay parenting. These studies could guide lawmakers, policymakers and judges concerning matters of child custody.

Regardless of the sexual orientation of a parent, a child's support and development are ideally kept to the forefront in all child custody disputes. If a parent believes that he or she will have to overcome biases in order to achieve an agreeable custody arrangement, legal guidance from a family law attorney may be very valuable.

Source: Drexel Now, "In Child Custody Disputes, LGBT Parents Face Bias in the Courts, New Drexel Review Finds", April 14, 2014

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