Divorce After Adopting a Child
If you’ve used adoption to grow your family, you know how much joy a child can bring to your life. When you and your partner decide to divorce, you might wonder how your split will affect the adoption. Will you still have equal rights to the child? Does one parent have more rights than the other? What if the divorce process happens shortly after adoption?
We know you have questions, and we’re here to help. Get the advice and help you need during your divorce by calling Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083.
To start, the law does not look at your adoptive child(ren) any differently than it looks at biological children. When you adopt a child, they legally become your child, just as they would be if they had been born to you. That does not change when you and your spouse divorce. In the divorce process, you are both considered the child’s only parents and have equal rights to them during custody negotiations.
There is one exception that only applies in a few unique cases. If you were working with a birth mother who wanted her child to be raised in a two-parent home, you may run into complications. This is only the case if you or your partner knew you would be getting divorced while you were still in the adoption process. In this case, the birth mother might be able to claim that she consented to the adoption under false pretenses. However, this is not a cut-and-dry area of law, so there are no fast answers.
Please note that this is only a possibility if you were already planning on divorce during the adoption and put it off in order to complete the adoption. It isn’t applicable if you and your spouse divorce later down the road after adoption. Divorces happen, and when a birth mother places her child with adoptive parents, there are no guarantees that they will remain married forever.
Subsidies and Financial Support
Some adoptions involve state support or subsidies. This is common in the case of a child with significant special needs, health needs, or mental health needs. People often wonder if these subsidies affect child support obligations or other financial issues that may arise during divorce. They do not. Subsidies do not change one parent’s child support obligations, as they are considered separate from the parents’ obligations to their own children.
Meeting the Child’s Needs
Legally, it’s unlikely anything will affect your adoption during a divorce. However, you do have to prepare for the emotional fallout of a divorce. While divorce is never easy on any child, it can be particularly challenging for an adopted child. Adopted children have previous trauma due to the separation from their biological family.
Even if they were adopted as an infant, if the child is aware they are adopted they may struggle with feelings of inadequacy or being unwanted. These feelings can become even more intense when the parents who chose them decide to divorce.
As a result, it’s important to think about how to support your child during this difficult time. You may want to set up therapy appointments preemptively so they can work through any difficult feelings that arise. You might also want to work closely with your ex-partner to decide how to talk about the divorce to your child. It’s crucial to avoid any language that places blame or hints that the divorce is for any reason other than the parents’ personal choice.
If individual therapy is not enough to help your child navigate the divorce, consider family therapy. Even though you and your spouse will no longer be married, you must still work together as your children’s parents. By attending family therapy as a unit, you can learn how to co-parent effectively and meet the adopted child’s emotional needs.
Reach Out to Coumanis & York for Help with Your Divorce Case
A divorce is a traumatic event for many people but having a dedicated legal team by your side can minimize your stress and help you prepare for the future. We’re ready to discuss your options. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or calling us at 251-990-3083.
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