Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

Divorce after adoption: What you need to know

When you began your adoption journey with your spouse, the last thing you probably anticipated was getting divorced. However, you may have been so caught up in the adoption that you overlooked serious red flags in the relationship. Or, maybe your relationship just fell apart, gradually, over time.

Whatever the cause, there are some important things that adoptive parents need to know when they divorce:

  1. A divorce doesn't change a parent's rights or obligations. Once the adoption is final, it's legally as if the child was the biological issue of both parents. This is true even when the adoption involves a stepchild that was biologically related to one parent (like a stepfather adopting his wife's child). Divorce won't end the stepparent's legal custody and visitation rights -- nor that parent's obligation to pay support.
  2. Your child may need extra reassurance. If your child knows that he or she was adopted, the divorce may shake the very foundation of his or her existence. Your child may harbor serious fears that he or she will be abandoned altogether. Counseling and emotional support during this time of adjustment are essential.
  3. Co-parenting agreements can help parents focus on their child's needs. In the case of adoptive parents, it may help to revive the spirit of cooperation and the "can-do" attitude that the couple shared during the adoption process itself. Both parents are encouraged to put aside their differences to support their child.

If you're concerned about how to handle conversations with your spouse regarding parenting time, support, custody and visitation, an attorney may be able to help. If you are confused about how adoption affects your rights (or doesn't), find out more today.

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