For many people, family is an important aspect of everyday life. Families come in many shapes and sizes, and there are a variety of paths individuals can take to create a family that meets his or her needs and objectives. Many families start with marriage. From there, many families want to expand to include a child or several children. Depending on the circumstances that exist in a given marriage, adoption might be one route toward making that happen.
Often, adoption is something married couples consider as a way to have children or simply to expand their current family. Adoption may be necessary in circumstances in which one or both parent has been named the legal guardian of a minor child as the result of the death of biological parents. Some grandparents may adopt their grandchildren for any number of reasons. Stepparents may adopt children from a previous marriage. There are many roads that lead to adoption.
However, when divorce enters the picture for a family that shares adopted children, there are some important considerations each parent must keep in mind. Being aware of some of these important concerns can help both parents and the children plan for the potential impact of divorce and face the challenges divorce can present more successfully. As with any divorce that involves children, focusing on the needs and best interests of the children is paramount in considering divorce options. However, understanding some special concerns might be a good place to start exploring your options when it comes to divorce and adoption.
Put the Child’s Needs First
As with any divorce involving children, it is extremely important to put the children’s needs first. That means recognizing and dealing with the emotions and stress that can accompany a divorce in a positive and productive manner to help children experience the transition that comes with divorce in a more positive way. It can be easy to let emotions and anger get the best of you during the divorce process, especially in cases in which one spouse blames the other for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Focusing on communication will be difficult, but it is also key in focusing on the children. When the children’s needs are front and center, especially during stages of the divorce process that concern children like custody negotiations, then it is often easier to come to an agreement about a workable parenting plan that you can present to the court. When parents work on communication between one another and work together to meet the needs of the child, they are more likely to arrive at an agreement that might not be everyone’s first preference but will likely provide a solid foundation for children beginning to experience the new family dynamics that are taking shape.
Many adopted children come from a place where conflict reigned supreme. By its very nature divorce is adversarial and a number of conflicts are likely to arise during its course. When they do, it is important to remember that placing children in the center of that conflict may not only damage the relationship they have with you and their co-parent, but it can also be traumatizing for a child who experienced similar issues prior to adoption.
No matter the dynamics of your adoption, bad-mouthing your spouse in front of your children is never a good idea. Doing so can have a significant impact on the child’s relationship with both parents, potentially alienating the parent being talked poorly about and sowing mistrust with the parent doing the talking. It is much more productive for children, and ultimately for the parents, if parents can work together to present a united front that demonstrates each parent is still invested in the child’s best interests and can put aside differences to focus on those needs.
Some children have difficulty adapting to new situations. This is especially true when it comes to divorce and struggling to cope with changing family dynamics can be especially challenging for adopted children. Talking to your children is an important part of parenting and can be crucial for children dealing with divorce.
While it is important to assure children that they have done nothing wrong and are not the cause of the issues leading to divorce, parents need to remain keenly aware of how the child is handling the divorce. Depression, anxiety, emotional outbursts, isolation, and other negative effects of significant change like divorce can be difficult to spot when parents are juggling the many other demands that can arise during a divorce. Staying invested and involved is a good way to make sure your child is handling the divorce in as positive and productive a manner as possible.
Acknowledging emotions and working through them is also a good way for parents to model behavior for their child. Divorce is not easy for parents, either. However, finding ways to deal with the emotions and stress that can accompany divorce can help your children understand that they can do the same thing. Children are always watching and listening.
Create a Detailed Parenting Plan
Structure is often a key component to successful divorce. This is especially true when it comes to adopted children and divorce. Divorce can come out of nowhere for a child, making their once secure world seem unsafe and unpredictable. This is a scary prospect for children, but parents can work to avoid excessive disruptions.
Creating a detailed parenting plan that is specific and oriented to meeting the children’s needs is crucial in divorce involving adopted children. This could require parents to adjust several aspects of their lives in order to meet these needs. However, the more effort you put into creating a detailed and workable parenting plan with your spouse prior to a divorce being finalized, the easier the transition will be on everyone involved, including the children. When both spouses agree that divorce is the best option, they may want to consider working on this type of plan before filing for divorce so that they can prepare themselves for the demands of a parenting plan and help children cope more effectively.
Creating a workable parenting plan can be challenging. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you navigate the process and explore the many options that might be available to you in your unique circumstances. Divorce is never easy, especially when children are involved. Adopted children may present special challenges, but keeping these suggestions in mind and maintaining a productive relationship with a Florida divorce attorney can be an effective way of taking a dynamic approach to meeting those challenges. For more information about how divorce might impact you family, including adopted children, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can learn more about how to approach a divorce involving children.