By: John Whitbeck

[6.18.2020] If you are preparing for a divorce and you have children involved, it’s stressful enough. But, what happens if you have an adopted child? Aside from an increase in guilt and anxiety in many cases, some parents worry that the breakup might affect the adoption. It is important to note that if the divorce takes place during the adoption phase itself, it can have negative effects on the outcome.

Spouses who separate and have already adopted children still have the same responsibilities and rights as if the children were biologically related. You are required to take care of them, and you also have the right to make important decisions on their behalf. Depending on the terms of the custody agreement, you may still be required to provide a secure and safe home, and ensure they receive basic necessities like food and access to medical care.

What Happens If You Divorce During the Adoption Process?

Couples who plan to file for divorce while an adoption is pending could be facing problems with the completion of the adoption. In situations where the birth parents are involved, they may have legal grounds to no longer proceed with the adoption. In many cases, there may be a condition in the adoption agreement that the child must be adopted by a couple that is married.

If the birth parents are having second thoughts about the adoption in the first place, this could give them legal cause to stop the adoption process. However, if they have already terminated their parental rights then they will have no cause for a legal objection. Either way, the judge has the final say on whether the adoption will proceed. He or she will take how the divorce will further affect the child in question into account. This means the adoption could proceed as planned, the judge may modify it making one spouse the adoptive parent, or they could deny the adoption.

Things to Keep in Mind with Adopted Children During a Divorce

It’s helpful to remember that divorce is hard on children, but it can be especially hard on children who are adopted. It’s in your best interest to help your children have the easiest transition during this difficult period. Try not to badmouth your spouse in front of the children. Do not create a situation where they feel stuck in the middle of your divorce and need to take sides.

You and your ex should be committed to putting the children’s interests first, no matter how heated the divorce gets. The emotional needs of a child are important, and adopted children may need extra emotional support. In addition, you should refrain from introducing new partners to your children for the immediate future.

You may find your adopted child needs extra reassurance through the divorce process. Often times adopted children already wonder why their own biological parents gave them up and whether they did something wrong that contributed to their being given up in the first place. The divorce could trigger even more insecurities.

Retaining a Virginia Family Law Attorney

If you have questions regarding divorce and adoption or any other family law matters, contact the team at WhitbeckBennett to schedule a consultation. Let one of our experienced Virginia family law attorneys help you with your family law needs.

Contact WhitbeckBennett to schedule a consultation by emailing clientservices@wblaws.com or calling 800-516-3964.

WhitbeckBennett provides social-distancing in-person consultations, private consultations by video conference at our office, or telephone/video consultations anywhere you may be located. We also currently offer a Virtual Consultation Room.