Over the past sixty years, more couples have been divorcing than ever before. Stepparenting has become a cultural institution across the country. In states like Texas, there’s a blueprint for many people who become stepparents, especially if they’re straight and cisgender. For LGBTQ stepparents, it’s more complicated. Sometimes, there’s very little support for them.
Much is the same
In surveys, it’s clear that LGBTQ stepparents face many of the same challenges as their heterosexual counterparts. They have to help create a stable new family structure for children who have just been through a trauma. Studies show that children who have LGBTQ stepparents perform as well in school and social settings as other children. The difference is that children may need to learn how to talk to less-than-accepting classmates and those classmates’ parents.
Considerations for LGBTQ stepparents
LGBTQ stepparents can benefit from clear communication. If they’re becoming part of a single-parent household or a formerly heterosexual family, they need to specify which roles which adult will be taking on. It’s also a good idea for LGBTQ stepparents to find out what the custody and adoption laws in their state are. In some cases, heterosexual parents may still be preferred by judges when it comes to full custody. Finally, there are support groups available for stepparents. They may be able to teach improved communication and problem-solving skills.
Of course, same-sex divorce is also a factor in changing American families. Just like straight couples, divorcing LGBTQ spouses should seek the advice of an experienced attorney. An experienced lawyer will understand how to make big decisions about issues like finances and custody. They can help you to get the divorce settlement that works best for you and your family.