How is Custody Determined for Adopted Children During Divorce?

Divorce is never an easy process, and it can be particularly difficult for families with children. Parents need to negotiate custody and support with an eye to both parity, continuing and maintaining the children’s relationship with both parents and extended family, and what is in the best interest of the child. Though some people assume that custody determination is different when a couple’s children are adopted, the law treats an adopted child in exactly the same way as a biological child. Neither custody nor support issues are treated differently.

When a married couple adopts a child, they take on a permanent legal duty to that child. Their role does not end with their marriage. Both partners are financially responsible, and both have a duty of caring for the child. Child custody and support need to be agreed to in the same way as for biological children, and the adopted child has the right to inheritance from both parents

There are times when an adoption has not yet been finalized and the prospective adoptive parents decide to divorce. In these cases, the child’s birth parents can try to stop the adoption proceeding if they want to. In this case (as well as in cases where birth parents continue to consent to the adoption), the judge will have the final word as to whether the adoption can proceed.  If one of the prospective parents decides that they no longer want to adopt in the face of their divorce, that parent is able to withdraw from the proceedings and will not be legally responsible for the child. The remaining parent will be able to continue with the process, with the judge making a determination as to whether to approve the adoption and take on full responsibility for the child.

The bottom line is that when a child is fully adopted and the legal proceedings are completed, they are no different from biological children. This means that both parents are responsible for their wellbeing and should work to negotiate a custody and support arrangement that provides them with the greatest level of security, care, and love.

If you are a parent considering a divorce, you need assistance with ensuring that your children’s needs are put front and center and addressed with thoughtful consideration. For information on how we can help, contact us today to set up a time to talk.