Despite society and the laws having evolved to protect the LGBTQ+ community, many of its members still face challenges when forming a family. Adopting a child alone requires them to sign multiple papers and undergo a series of processes. And once they finally complete the procedure, they’ll face another set of challenges outside of the adoption, and it may affect their child’s quality of life.
Sadly, many LGBTQ+ people still face stigma, discrimination, and other issues when they’re trying to create a normal life for themselves. The law isn’t by their side in some places. And sometimes, even if they’re not breaking any law, their environment still makes them unsafe.
Thankfully, there are compassionate family law attorneys who defend their rights. They help them overcome the challenges in adoption, estate planning, and other factors involved in forming and raising a family.
If you’re married or in a serious relationship with an LGBTQ+ partner, below are the struggles you can expect when you decide to form a family:
1. Persistent Judgement
When you try to adopt a child, you may come across some people who believe that LGBTQ+ parents harm their children. Some people judge the LGBTQ+ as sexual predators, despite the fact that there’s no legitimate research suggesting that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia. In fact, offenders are more likely to be heterosexuals than homosexuals.
2. The Potential of Your Adopted Child Being Bullied
Children of LGBTQ+ parents are more prone to teasing and harassment. In custody cases involving an LGBTQ+ parent, courts have considered this fact as contrary to the child’s best interests. They argue that the stigma toward LGBTQ+ parents will destroy a child’s self-esteem, although that notion has been proven wrong in many studies.
Research found that though children of LGBTQ+ parents do experience being teased, their self-esteem levels are no lower than that of kids with heterosexual parents. The key to maintaining a healthy level of self-esteem in them to let them know who their adoptive parents will be, and to allow them to express how they feel about the adoption.
3. The Child Feeling “Different”
A study found that 79% of children with LGBTQ+ parents feel “different”. But the same study also found that 66% displayed awareness about family diversity, 70% showed resilience despite the adversity. These results show that children with same-sex parents can navigate the difference in their experiences with resiliency and that they can develop a positive concept of a family.
Considering that the LGBTQ+ have also felt being the odd one, you would know how difficult it is to feel different as a child. You can view this common struggle as an opportunity to discuss sexual orientations and the gender spectrum with your child.
4. Assumed Problems The Child May Have Because of Their Household
In child custody disputes, the court may argue that the child will experience problems in their household, simply because of their same-sex parents. But in reality, no studies conclude such. Children of LGBTQ+ parents are no different from their counterparts with heterosexual parents.
In a study focused on male role models for adolescents with lesbian parents, no differences were found between children with male role models and those without. A defense attorney can use that fact to strengthen your case.
5. Distribution of Assets Upon Death
If you are not married to your partner, they may experience legal issues upon your death, particularly if you didn’t leave a will. One study has found that the LGBTQ+ community is less likely to create a will.
Without a will, it’s the state who will decide how to distribute your assets after your death. They won’t automatically give your partner a share, even if you’ve lived with them. Instead, they may distribute your assets among your living family members, such as your parents, siblings, and even aunts and uncles.
If your retirement account and/or life insurance are your greatest asset, you can save your partner from a lot of trouble by assigning them as your beneficiary. But if you have specific assets you wish to grant to them after your death, you should create a will stating that.
If you’re worried that your family will contest your will, consider creating trust. It will protect your assets and will. However, a trust can be expensive, so consider adding a “no contest” clause into your will instead, to clarify why you are leaving your assets to your spouse or domestic partner. Stating the reasons for distributing an asset to a certain person gives someone less room to oppose.
These common challenges LGBTQ+ couples and parents face may become bigger without legal assistance. If you experience any of these as you and your partner or spouse form a family, seek the help you need, and don’t stop breaking the stigma, promoting a positive attitude toward your community members, and upholding your rights not as someone of a particular gender, but as a human being.