Can a gay man get custody when exiting a heterosexual relationship? I read with interest this article Gay Parent’s Claim for Custody. The article poses the challenges facing a gay man in getting custody of a child when exiting a heterosexual relationship. Some courts do not view gay men as equal to mothers and even hetero-fathers in custody cases. Prevailing prejudices and discrimination remains with some judges.
The best interest of the child remains the prevailing standard that any judge must apply in a case regarding custody of a child. No parent should expose their children to unstable new romantic relationships or unseemly behavior. Focusing on the stability of the parent to provide a good environment for the child can overcome the prejudices that exist. For example, a partnership between two stable men in an enduring relationship may be more nurturing and reliable for the child than a woman with many relationships and no particular connection. Such an unstable relationship by the mother would demonstrate a negative aspect of love and romance to the child.
The parental bond and involvement in the child’s life will also provide a good area of evidence to help boost a gay father’s request for custody. A gay father who is involved at school and with extracurricular activities will have advantages over an uninvolved mother. Helping with homework, knowing the child’s teachers and friends, and attending to medical issues are all important factors in a custody case, regardless of sexual orientation of the parent.
The bottom line, even in conservative courts and with conservative judges, a child-centered focus of the matters related to custody of the child can overcome the prejudices that may still exist. As with any parent, regardless of orientation, the involvement in the child’s life and emphasis on the child’s wellbeing will outweigh other factors most of the time.