Are Gay and Lesbian Couples Disadvantaged When Seeking Custody in Ohio?

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Gay and lesbian couples are often concerned that their “non-traditional family” will be a disadvantage in custody decisions. While technically this issue is never to be determinative of custody disputes, lest tgay_adoptionhe Court violate the Equal Protection Clause, many gay and lesbian couples feel that their sexual orientation played a role in the ultimate disposition of the Court.   Putting aside potential biases of certain judges, there is at least one case that seems to lend credence to those concerns.  In 2008, the Second Appellant District in Clark County decided a case by the name of Page v. Page in which the Court specifically stated that a homosexual relationship of a mother caused adverse affects to the minor children and warranted a change of custody from that mother to the father.  The facts of that case can be summarized as follows:

Four years after the mother was designated the residential parent of both children, the father filed a motion to modify the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  The common pleas trial Court granted the father’s motion and awarded him custody.  The appellate court held that the common pleas court did not err in finding that a change of circumstances occurred as there was evidence that, as a collateral result of the mother’s relationship with her same-sex partner, both children had experienced personality disorders, and therefore, modification of custody was in the children’s best interest. The court determined that the adverse collateral effects of the mother’s relationship with her partner and the partner’s role in the children’s lives showed little room for improvement in the future.

While the Court was careful to say that it was not basing its decision on the simple fact that the mother was a lesbian, but rather the collateral affects that her relationship had on the children, it should give pause to the gay and lesbian couples fighting for custody.  This is something to keep an eye on in the future as more and more gay and lesbian couples fight for custody of one of the partner’s minor children.

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5 Responses to Are Gay and Lesbian Couples Disadvantaged When Seeking Custody in Ohio?

  1. 2hot2touch says:

    Hey, thanks for this article! I just moved to Xenia, Ohio from Dora, Alabama and my partner and I would like to adopt. Does this case hurt our changes with adoptions? Any help that anyone can give would be fantastic. Thank you so much!

  2. Sam Hasler says:

    What was the evidence that favored the non-custodial parent? Did they actually have a psychiatrist or other expert testimony?

  3. Sarah says:

    I believe they aren’t disadvantaged. When children are raised with a father and mother, then forced through a divorce, and made to live with one parent whom is now living completely different confuses the child and messes them up. I agree with the courts decision and I hope they continue to look at long term affects on children from this situation. Its not the same as moving from one house to another or painting a room a different color. That is a complete “new” life change.

  4. Neil says:

    I have to lean with the father; I am in the process of splitting up with a lesbian and seeing the effects on my two sons. Though subdued, the transition has shown itself. My older son shows weekly concern of what his friends will think and has become more and more reclusive while in my home. I have tried and will continue to push for equal parenting but I am concerned for him. My biggest issue is with the way we split, rather than coming out to my boys, she tried to alienate them into thinking that I was abusive towards her and that’s what caused the breakup. I tried everything and up to the end to keep it together, even offered separate personal lives to continue the life that she wanted and the one the boys were used to. I do realize that the love was never their on her part and that she wanted to come out before our long marriage, it does feel like betrayal though. She was embarrassed and came from a family that used terms such as “that is so gay and homo” and so on. I never knew why she avoided me but as I look back at it the clues were given. I do wish that she will finally overcome her fear, tell the boys, and admit that the things she said about us were false.
    I try to understand the turmoil to live life that is not right for you but if you do come out, do it with dignity, before marriage, before kids, and do not try to disrespect others because you have been wronged in the past. These are kids which need to be loved by both parents and should trust both of them for their actions and words. Lesbians and gays also can be wrong in this situation but it can be subdued with proper communication. This would eliminate the fear of the straight parent now having to deal with the awkward transition of know living a life of diversity and the gays fear of losing a child due to laws.
    And yes there is a major transition and ones that I never would have thought; I have dated enough to realize that woman would rather have me have a normal ex as they are concerned about future family integration and the association with a lesbian parent. This is shocking to me as it comes from well educated, diverse, and accepting parents. It’s a weekly topic and one that I shun. The other is the community, I moved out but due to my association, my children and I are no longer invited to social events as we are considered not the norm. The list is endless, from my child’s friends finding Face book pictures of the ex with women and teasing.

    So please, please, please be responsible- living a lie then coming out may feel good to you, but it can wreak others lives.

  5. Neil says:

    The best thing that you can do is respect everyone in this situation, converse with all parties including the children and to move on in a dignified way. In the end I have found an amazing relationship, my ex seems to be happy with her new relationship and I continue to emphasize that both parents will love the kids. It can work if everyone lets down their guard a bit and accepts it for what it is.

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