Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Same-sex spouses' children affected by parenting and not gender

As is the case with most unions, questions regarding the well-being of the children often arise. Are they taken care of? Are their best interests considered? Same-sex spouses from Worcester, Massachusetts, are privy to these kinds of questions. And, often, they encounter one more very sensitive question: are children ultimately affected by the sexual orientation of their parents?

In a study recently conducted by the University of Massachusetts that measured 104 families, 50 of which were opposite-sex couples, 29 of which had gay fathers, and 25 of which had lesbian mothers, on how well-functioning and happy the children were, results showed that children were more influenced by the relationship that their parents shared than their sexual orientation. Researchers found that compared with heterosexual couples, child care activities of same-sex parents are more evenly divided.

However, regardless of sexuality, the behavioral health of the child relied on how happy the couples were with each other and with the way that they allocated the child care activities. The research results showed that parenting played more of a factor than the parents' sexual preference. Those parents who were more satisfied with the parenting arrangements had children who demonstrated less aggressive behavior, less acting out and fewer behavioral problems.

With parental sexual orientation being a non-factor, according to the study, it lends credibility to the fact that same-sex spouses primarily have the same situations as heterosexual spouses. For this reason, they can also be subjected to the same problems that lead to divorce. Divorce, of course, raises issues related to child custody and child support.

Same-sex couples from Worcester, Massachusetts, may seek information about divorce laws governing same-sex partners. If same-sex spouses wish to settle their divorce in an amicable way and maintain civility and integrity, as well as to protect their relationship with their children, this education and information may be beneficial.

Source: Huffington Post, "Children Of Gay Couples Impacted By Parents' Relationship But Not Sexual Orientation: Study," Samantha Escobar, July 27, 2013

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