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Assigning parental roles to same-sex couples

Same-sex couples have often come to us here at the Thomas Law Offices after having started their families confused over who is legally assigned the traditional roles of mother and father in their homes. If this describes your scenario, then you understand that the concern over such roles lies less with the public designation you and your spouse are given, but rather the inherent responsibilities that come with each one. Like many in Los Angeles, you may also worry how the role that you are assigned could potentially affect you should you get a divorce. 

Ultimately, it is up to you and your spouse as to who assumes what role in raising your children. However, perception can come into play if the issue of custody arises following your separation. The results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Indiana seem to shed light on exactly what those perceptions are. Study participants were asked to review and assign roles based on a fictional couples' interests and hobbies, as well as each's respective income. When describing LGBT couples, an average of over 61 percent assigned traditional maternal responsibilities (shopping, cooking, cleaning, raising children) to the spouse displaying more feminine interests, while 67 percent felt the partner perceived to be more masculine should handle chores like yard work or auto repairs. Similarly, 80 percent of participant's believed the spouse earning the lowest income should stay home with the children. 

California has actually enacted laws that may help overcome stereotypes when assigning roles to same-sex parents. Introduced in 2014, state law AB 1951 introduced a third option to birth records, allowing you to select "Parent" rather than the traditional role of mother or father (if you so choose). 

You can find more information on parental issues facing same-sex couples by continuing to explore our site. 

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