The Impact of Divorce on Adoption
A recent divorce can produce a ripple effect in one’s life, including issues that were not directly associated with the marriage per se. It literally is a change to a person’s legal status that can affect bank accounts, school, work, and even an adoption agreement.
Under Florida law, an adoption proceeding includes a basic assumption that a child is going to be placed in what is deemed a traditional home. That assumption includes the idea of there being two parents involved in the care, support and protection of the child. Obviously, a divorce means that the potential parents are no longer together in the same home. When in the middle of an adoption process, a divorce can literally link the placement of the child to one parent and custodial visitation rights to other parent, assuming both want to be adopted parents still. However, where biological children are typically placed with the mother, the court in an adoption, has no such bias or bearing for an adopted child as their is no biological connection. This means that a child could be placed with the parent that seems to provide the best physical and mental care, regardless of the other’s connection. And, in foster cases, the divorce may potentially cause the child to be relocated by the state altogether, with no spouse achieving custody at all.
The big issue for the court in a divorce is that the parties have to show, proactively and conclusively, how a child’s needs will be adequately addressed in a given situation. If the divorce is contested, this could be an area of argument, with both sides trying to show they are the better environment for the child and the other should only have visitation rights, similar to a child custody dispute. The divorce can also trigger cold feet by natural parents if the adoption agreement assumed a voluntary transfer of a child to a two-parent home. Similarly, an international adoption can be put at risk since many countries require their children go to a two-parent home for such a transfer.
The bottom line is that a divorce introduces a lot of risk to a pending adoption, and those challenges are not issues that parents-to-be should go at alone. An experienced divorce attorney can make a world of difference in representation and guidance, navigating these minefields to a better result. If you’re in the Plantation or Naples Florida area and are dealing with a divorce potential in the middle of an adoption, give our offices a call. We can provide professional expertise that your case needs, ensuring your best chances for a positive outcome despite a divorce being a necessity.