Adoption is a common way for people to grow their families. Couples adopt for all kinds of reasons. Maybe a relative or a child you had a pre-existing relationship with wound up in foster care. Perhaps you are unable to have children biologically, or maybe you just wanted to give a home to a child who was already here.
Regardless of the initial reasons why you and your partner chose to adopt, you will likely have many concerns about what could happen if you divorce with an adopted child in your family. Divorce and child custody are complex areas of Florida family law. When there is an unusual complicating factor, such as an adoptive relationship, there can be even more questions for everyone involved.
Are both parents adoptive parents?
The most critical consideration for your family regarding custody is going to be whether the names of both parents appear on the adoption paperwork. For families of all sorts, from blended families to LGBT families, the actual adoption records will typically have the most legal importance.
If both of the parents have actually adopted the child in question, then custody proceedings will be the same as for any biological child. The parents will have the option of amicably setting terms in an uncontested divorce. Barring that, the courts will typically allocate parental rights and responsibilities to both of the parents, unless there are issues like addiction or abuse in the family unit.
Unfortunately, if only one parent has technically adopted the child in question, the other spouse will not really have legal standing in the courts. It may be possible to reach an amicable agreement. Starting adoption proceedings immediately prior to the divorce could also be a possibility if your spouse agrees. If your ex won’t work with you, you may have a more complicated legal situation to deal with.
If you adopted your stepchildren, you will have to pay child support
Another common scenario that families find themselves facing is one where one of the parents is the biological parent and the other is adoptive. As an adoptive parent of stepchildren, you have an important relationship with those children. Your relationship and legal status entitles you to visitation. It also necessitates the payment of child support.
Children who have already experienced adoption may have concerns about abandonment and other emotional issues that are stronger than the responses in their peers who experienced divorce. You and your ex should do everything in your power to ensure that the children in your family know that they are loved and cared for. Working together for an uncontested custody arrangement that shares parenting responsibilities will be the easiest outcome for you and the children if it is at all possible in your case.