Married couples that are planning to adopt a child need to be on the same page regarding this life-changing decision. The child would be the legal child of both partners, and everything is usually wonderful when the bond between the parents is strong. However, when a couple with an adopted child heads for a divorce, things can get complicated.
They may find themselves disagreeing over child custody, visitation rights, and other divorce proceedings. Let us look at what happens when you divorce as a couple with an adopted child.
Rules are Similar for All Children
It is vital to understand that adopted children have the same legal rights as all children during a divorce. They have the right to have their best interests represented during custody arrangements. Custody orders, in most cases, would include a form of continuing contact with both parents.
Adopted children also have a right to enforced custody orders for making it easy to maintain a close relationship with both parents. Children have the right to financial support from parents as well. There can be special things that need to be kept in mind during a divorce proceeding. For instance, the adopted child may be receiving a state adoption subsidy or have special needs. These special circumstances should be identified and addressed.
Legal Right to Seek Custody Remains with Both Parents
Both parents can move the court for acquiring custody of an adopted child. Neither parent can claim preference based on their biological relationship if one of them has a biological relationship. The court will determine custody based on the child’s best interests and circumstances since each parent is considered to be the legal parent of the child.
An adopted child’s custody order can be flexible for meeting their specific needs. The court may take into account special needs if the child has any for protecting their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Parents of an adopted child involved in divorce proceedings should apprise the court of special circumstances. This is so that the court can make the best decision reflecting the child’s best interests.
Right to Child Support
Adopted children have a right to financial support from their parents like any other child. Child support determinations are similar in all types of divorce cases. Child support awards are determined by the court based on the needs of the children and the income of the parents. Special needs and extraordinary expenses can be considered while determining child support.
Adoption Assistance and Child Support Payments
A unique issue that comes up in divorce proceedings involving adopted children is if the parents are receiving an adoption subsidy payment for the child. They may continue receiving the benefit, which may be as much as several hundred dollars each month even when the parents divorce. There is a question of how the payment would factor in the determination of child support.
The ex-spouse receiving the payment usually argues that the state subsidy should not be considered for relieving the other parent of their financial obligations to support the child. There could be a claim that the parent would receive an adoption subsidy on behalf of the adopted child while collecting child support in full.
The parent paying the support may make a counterargument that the subsidy was meant for meeting the needs of the child. Additional payments in the form of child support may only result in a windfall for the recipient parent. Most paying parents ask the court for offsetting the subsidy against support payments.
Creating a Post-Nuptial Child Custody Order
Many people wonder about divorce and adopted children before completing the adoption process or beginning a divorce. Child support and custody determinations are critical to parents and children in every divorce proceeding. This can make you wonder if you can come into an agreement with your spouse about determining child custody rights in the event that a divorce occurs.
Many potential parents wonder if they can create a postnuptial child custody order which goes into effect in case both parties agree to have a divorce in the future. According to the courts, it is contrary to public policy when agreements between parents are enforced without taking all circumstances existing at the time of the divorce into account.
It’s critical for spouses that are considering child adoption to understand that courts don’t allow the creation of child custody agreements which are enforced at the time of a divorce. The parents need to prove in court that the custody arrangement being sought is in the child’s best interests at the time of the divorce.
Adopted Children Might Need Extra Support During an Auburn Divorce
Divorce is hard on everyone in the family, particularly the children. It often gets even more difficult for adopted children. The loss of a family unit exacerbates the complex emotions that adopted children already have to deal with.
Sometimes adoptees never truly feel part of the family. They struggle with their new parents, siblings, and whether they “belong” to the family or not. The question of belonging becomes more complicated once the family gets separated into two independent households.
A major challenge with adopted children is that they get in the habit of guarding their thoughts and feelings. You should let the children know that you are there for them regardless of what might happen.
Protect the Interests of Your Children with an Experienced Auburn, AL Divorce Attorney
It is vital that you understand how particular laws address the special consideration of children that are adopted in the event of a divorce. You should also determine whether any special considerations apply to your particular case if you are in the divorce process.
Adopted children in Auburn, AL may have special considerations that need to be taken into account when determining child custody. Based on this, an adoption subsidy has an impact on child support determination. The attorneys at Alsobrook Law Group can help you address special considerations that apply to divorce cases involving adopted children. Give us a call today at 334-737-3718 for a free consultation to understand your options better.