How is a Divorce Different When an Adopted Child is Involved?

Divorce is never easy on children, but does it have a particular effect on adopted kids? Can adoption change the shape of your custody and child support issues? When adopted children are involved, you may need to anticipate a few legal and emotional particularities about your divorce. Make sure you’re familiar with the key differences.

Slight Legal Differences

From a legal perspective, adoption has a very small interaction with divorce proceedings. Many of North Carolina’s child custody and support laws, for example, refer to both “natural” and adopted children as though they are interchangeable in the eyes of the law. The court will typically consider both adoptive parents to have equal parenting rights in a divorce situation. That said, here are a few small legal differences that may come into play with adopted children and divorce.

1) When the court is making custody decisions and one of you is the biological parent, the court may take that fact into consideration. That doesn’t mean the biological parent is guaranteed to have custody—it just gives the court another unique factor to think about when they’re trying to determine the child’s best interest.

2) Your adopted child may get an adoption subsidy from the government. If that’s the case for you, the subsidy won’t factor into income calculations for child support (meaning it won’t affect the adoptive parents’ child support obligations).

3) Because North Carolina allows for grandparent visitation rights, grandparents may have more success in requesting special visitation rights when siblings have been split up due to an adoption or custody issue.

Unique Emotional Needs

Besides the legal differences, adopted children have very different emotional needs compared to biological children going through a divorce. Sometimes these unique needs can make divorce more difficult for adopted children and parents alike. Here are a few examples.

1) Adopted children often have attachment or abandonment issues, which can make the divorce feel like another loss. It’s important to let your kids know that the divorce isn’t their fault, and to reassure them that they aren’t losing anyone through the divorce. You might also seek therapy or professional support to help them get through it.

2) Adopted children may also feel like they are losing stability. Keep your kids informed about what your lives will look like after divorce, including your custody and visitation schedule, so they understand that you will still have a secure family structure after the divorce is finalized.

3) Besides the kids themselves, parents may feel additional guilt for divorcing after establishing a family with adopted children. You likely went through a rigorous process to adopt your children, and now that your marriage is coming to an end, you may feel as though you’ve let them down. You can still put your kids first throughout the divorce process, and remember that you can still provide a stable and happy life for your children post-divorce.

If you need reassurance about the legal aspects your divorce, you should contact a dependable family lawyer to see you through the process. At the law firm of Regina Taylor, we are committed to learning your family’s needs and applying our vast legal knowledge to your particular case. Call us for supportive guidance throughout the divorce process.

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Written by N.C. Adoption Law Center

N.C. Adoption Law Center

We work hard to provide all our clients with the best and and most helpful legal services. Our attorneys specialize in adoption and other family law cases including divorce, child custody, child support, guardianship, and more.