Family structures in the United States have grown quite diverse. The nuclear family is no longer the only or even the most common type of family. People are now more open to different kinds of family structures.
Currently, one of the most common family structures that didn’t use to exist before is single-parent households. However, there’s now a growing number of single-parent households in the United States, accounting for over 18 million households.
Another fast-growing family structure in the country is LGBTQ+ families. As same-sex marriage becomes more accepted, more and more people are coming out and starting families with their same-sex partners.
If you’re thinking of starting an LGBTQ+ family, you should know a few things before taking the plunge.
Some States Still Cling To Same-Sex Marriage Bans
Despite the law stating that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, some states are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognize their marriages.
As of 2022, some states still have outright bans on same-sex marriage: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas. In addition, four states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. These statute bans can be problematic as they can hinder you from starting a family.
If you live in one of these nine states and want to get married to your same-sex partner, you’ll likely have to travel out of state to do so. Additionally, even if you marry in another state, your home state may not recognize your marriage. This can make things complicated when it comes to filing taxes, adopting children, and receiving benefits.
So, if you’re thinking of starting an LGBTQ+ family and living in one of these states, you may want to consider moving to a more welcoming state to same-sex couples before taking any further steps.
There Are More Options Than Adoption
If you’re considering starting an LGBTQ+ family, you likely already know that adoption is one option. And while adoption is a great way to build your family, it’s not the only option available.
For instance, if you or your partner can conceive naturally, then obviously, pregnancy and childbirth are also options. Additionally, there are now many fertility clinics that cater specifically to LGBTQ+ couples who want to have children.
If you’re in a state that allows same-sex marriage but does not allow same-sex couples to adopt, you need to get an LGBTQ+ lawyer to help you out. Most of the time, there are legal ways for LGBTQ+ couples to adopt a child without breaking the law. The lawyer can help you bypass these legal issues surrounding it. However, states that ban entirely same-sex marriage also ban LGBTQ+ couples from adopting a child.
You’ll Need To Be Financially Stable
Starting a family, no matter what type, is expensive. And it will only get more costly as your children grow older and need more things.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report, the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $233,610. And that doesn’t even include the cost of college! Moreover, if you consider the pay discrepancies and job gaps that still exist between LGBTQ+ individuals and heterosexual individuals, you’ll likely have to spend even more money to provide for your family.
So, if you’re considering starting an LGBTQ+ family, you need to ensure you’re in an excellent financial position. You need to have a stable job, income, and good savings account to cover unexpected costs. Additionally, you should have a good health insurance plan to cover the cost of medical care for you and your family.
You’ll Need A Good Support System
Starting an LGBTQ+ family can be a lonely experience, especially if you don’t have a good support system. You may find that your friends and family are not as supportive as you thought. Additionally, you may not have many other LGBTQ+ families to turn to for advice or support.
So, it’s essential to make sure you have a good support system in place before starting an LGBTQ+ family. It includes close friends, family members, or even online communities of other LGBTQ+ parents. These people can give you the emotional support you need to get through the tough times.
You’ll Need To Be Prepared For Discrimination
Unfortunately, discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and families is still a reality in many parts of the United States. As a result, you may face discrimination when trying to start an LGBTQ+ family.
For instance, you may have trouble finding a fertility clinic willing to help you. Additionally, you may face discrimination from adoption agencies or potential birth parents. You may also find that your child faces discrimination at school or in their community.
Starting an LGBTQ+ family is unlike starting any family out there. However, now that you’re armed with this information, you’re one step closer to starting the family of your dreams. Good luck!