Separation and divorce among LGBTQ-Parent families

Document Type

Book Chapter


Although there is ample literature regarding the couple relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, particularly same-sex LG couples, less is known about processes of separation and divorce in instances where these relationships are not enduring. This topic is timely to consider as a growing number of countries worldwide have moved toward marriage equality for same-sex couples, which also means that legal same-sex divorce is becoming an increasing reality. As many couples including LGBTQ-identified persons have children, it is likely that at least some of these children will experience the dissolution of their parents’ relationship, yet few studies have attended to outcomes and experiences of LGBTQ-parent families who experience divorce. In this chapter, we review data on LGBTQ relationship separation and divorce, particularly those LGBTQ adults who are parents. We underscore dynamics unique to LGBTQ parents and their children who experience dissolution of the couple relationship. In doing so, we describe both quantitative and qualitative studies in this area, and we draw on related research among cisgender heterosexual parent families who have experienced separation and divorce. We conclude with implications and recommendations for policy, practice, and future research.

Publication Title

LGBTQ-Parent Families: Innovations in Research and Implications for Practice

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page







hildren’s adjustment, couple dissolution, couple separation, custody, divorce, LGBTQ parents, same-sex marriage