No matter how amenable a divorce is, negotiating over child custody is always difficult. And if you and your partner adopted a child during the marriage, it may mean even further complications. If you are going through a Pennsylvania divorce and have adopted children with your partner, you need the advice of an experienced legal firm. The best way to figure out your options is to secure an experienced family law attorney.
CUSTODY FOR ADOPTIVE CHILDREN IN PENNSYLVANIA
Adopting a child was likely one of the biggest decisions you made as a married couple. Now that you’re going through the difficulties of divorce, the best interests of your child is of the utmost importance. There are many things to consider when thinking about the well-being of your child especially with regards to custody and other legalities. The courts will grant joint or primary custody to adoptive parents depending on the age of the child and the ability of one parent over the other to make decisions.
In many cases, both parents may decide to have joint legal custody with one of the parents having a greater amount of physical custody. In other cases, the legal and physical custody may be equal. In most situations, adoptive cases work very similarly to traditional custodial cases, as long as both parties are legal guardians.
ATTACHMENT ISSUES FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN
In any divorce, some children will suffer from attachment issues and find the process overwhelming. For adoptive children, there may be a further psychological issue depending on how they’ve dealt with the adoption. Feelings of abandonment may crop up for these children, and they may have a more difficult time dealing with divorce than a child who isn’t adopted.
Most children face feelings of anger, anxiety, fear, sadness and confusion. Your adopted child will go through these feelings and perhaps more. It’s at this time that therapy might be in order. Whether it’s family counseling or individual therapy, your child could benefit greatly from speaking to a neutral party.
Is Court Necessary?
Like in a traditional divorce case involving children, court isn’t always necessary. If the parents can agree on custody for the children in the divorce and work out a plan, there is no need to go to court. Mediation may be one possible avenue for possible negotiations if the parents and attorneys can’t resolve custody on their own.
CHILD SUPPORT FOR ADOPTIVE CHILDREN
Child support is usually the responsibility of the non-custodial parent – the one the child doesn’t live with full time. The funds are there to take care of the needs of the child, such as medical care, school supplies, clothing, and food. Usually, the non-custodial parent pays child support until the child reaches the age of 18. This is the same for adoptive children unless one parent isn’t legally a guardian. In those situations, child support situations may be different.
If and your ex-spouse are having issues seeing eye-to-eye on the custody and support agreements you made during the time of your divorce regarding your adoptive children, talk an experienced family law attorney in Pennsylvania.