Dealing with custody issues during a divorce can be difficult even in the best of circumstances, but parents of adopted children have extra considerations to take into account when determining custody arrangements Children who have been adopted may have a more difficult time coping with the divorce, as it may make them feel that they have been abandoned. Here are a few things to take into consideration and discuss with your family law attorney as you prepare your case.
Custody And Child Support Aren't Different For Adopted Children
Once the adoption process is finalized, your children have the same legal status as any biological child. This means that your spouse can't argue for lower child support payments simply because you receive a tax credit or subsidy for the adoption. It also means that the custody and visitation arrangements are determined in the same way as any other divorce proceeding. If, however, you and your spouse decide to divorce in the middle of the adoption process, the birth parents may have the right to call off the proceedings. It may be in your best interests to attempt to reconcile, if only for a few months, to ensure the adoption process goes smoothly.
Your Child May Need Supportive Services During And After The Divorce
If your child is old enough to understand what is happening and is aware that he or she is adopted, you may want to consider taking your child to family therapy sessions. You and your spouse should attend with your child so you can all work out any emotional issues the child might have. Feelings of loss, grief and abandonment are not uncommon during a divorce, and you and your spouse should be there to reinforce that your love for your child will never change. In the event that your spouse is unwilling to go through with therapy sessions, you and your lawyer can petition the court to compel cooperation as a condition of custody or visitation arrangements.
Avoid Relocating During Or After The Divorce
Your adopted child needs consistency to help with the transition to living in a one-parent household. If you or your spouse decide to move away, it could make things more difficult for your child. Any custodial parent must request permission from the original judge to move out of state, and the parent must comply with the court's ruling. For non-custodial parents, there is more freedom to move. While you might not be able to require the non-custodial parent to stay local, you can ask the court to require that visitation occur in your child's home state. Whenever possible, work with your spouse and your legal team to keep your child in the most comfortable and supportive environment.
Remember that your adoption shouldn't change the way your divorce is handled. Your adopted child is your child legally, and getting divorced doesn't mean that you have to give your child back. Talk to a legal office like Topalian & Associates about any other questions you might have during your divorce proceedings.