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Is divorce any different for parents of adopted children?

You and your spouse are the parents of one or more adopted children. As you and your spouse plan to split up, you worry about whether this will have any bearing on the legal proceedings and whether the divorce will be harder on your adopted children than it would be on your biological children.

From a legal point of view, there is no difference between your adopted children and biological children. Once the adoption is final, you have all the same parental rights and legal responsibilities that you would have had if you had given birth to the children, and they are subject to the same decisions regarding child support and parenting time. However, predicting how the divorce may affect your children emotionally can be more difficult to predict.

How divorce affects adopted children

According to Creating a Family, adopted children can feel a sense of rejection or abandonment by their birth parents placing them for adoption, even if they were too young at the time to remember it. The divorce of their adopted parents may exacerbate these feelings. However, that does not necessarily mean that the fact of your children’s adoption will make the process harder on them.

Whether adopted or biological, divorce is traumatic for children, who need time to adjust to it. Nevertheless, children are resilient, and most suffer no long-term ill effects from their parents’ divorce. In fact, what is really damaging to children is an ongoing conflict between their parents. If your divorce puts an end to the conflict between you and your spouse, your children are likely to be better off because of it.

What you can do to make the transition easier

You do not necessarily have to do anything different to help your adopted children adjust to the divorce than you would have to do for your biological children. You may have to place more emphasis on certain ideas, such as that the children are not responsible for the divorce.

It also helps to establish a new routine quickly as it relates to co-parenting and to avoid bad-mouthing your ex-spouse in front of your children.