Family Characteristics, Custody Arrangements, and Adolescent Psychological Well-being After Lesbian Mothers Break Up

By Nanette Gartrell, Henny Bos, Heidi Peyser, Amalia Deck, And Carla Rodas
November 2011

Based on the first longitudinal study on dissolutions among lesbian couples, this article suggests the importance of co-parent adoption for same-sex couples with children.  The study finds that the former couples were more likely to be sharing custody if there had been a co-parent adoption and that they had remained in their relationships longer — on average four years longer — than those without co-parent adoptions. In addition, their 17-year-old children were significantly more likely to report closeness to both parents and that they spent significantly more time with both parents after the dissolution, as compared to families without co-parent adoptions. Only 19 states and Washington D.C. currently have laws or court decisions clearly permitting co-parent adoptions by same-sex couples.

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