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Coral Springs & Boca Raton Family Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What Happens if Adoptive Parents End Up Filing for Divorce?

What Happens if Adoptive Parents End Up Filing for Divorce?


Adoption is a wonderful way to grow your family. Each year, thousands of couples in Florida finalize their adoption. You may be wondering: How does divorce work if there are adoptive parents? The short answer is that the divorce process for adoptive parents is not fundamentally different from the divorce process for any other parents. Within this article, our Boca Raton divorce attorney explains the key things that adoptive parents should know about divorce in Florida.

Key Takeaway: Divorce Does Not Undo an Adoption 

As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that divorce does not negate an already-finalized adoption in Florida. An adoptive parent has full legal (parental) rights. In other words, the parent has a permanent legal relationship with the adoptive child. If they subsequently go on to get divorced, that does not have any impact on the parent’s rights. This is true for all types of adoptions, including step-parent adoption. A step-parent in Florida who formally adopts a child has full parental rights, even if there is a subsequent divorce.

 A Note On Ongoing Adoptions: In cases where an adoption is in progress at the time of a divorce filing, the situation could get far more complicated. In some cases, the couple may end up canceling the adoption process altogether—effectively withdrawing the petition. As an alternative, one spouse may proceed with the adoption as a single parent. Indeed, Florida law does not require that prospective adoptive parents be married. A single parent adoption is possible.

 Adoptive Parents Must Work Out Custody and Visitation

Adoptive parents have to navigate many of the same issues that other parents do when going through a divorce. Most notably, they must work out custody and visitation. The court’s guiding principle is the best interest of the child. Under Florida Statutes § 61.13, courts will consider a wide range of factors when determining what is best for a child’s health, safety, and well-being, including:

  • Each parent’s relationship with the child;
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable home environment;
  • Any history of parental misconduct (abuse, neglect, etc); and
  • If the adoptive child is old enough, their preference.

As part of the divorce process, both adoptive parents should be prepared to engage in this process with the understanding that their responsibilities towards their child remain intact. Along with other things, they will typically be required to develop a parenting plan that outlines how they will share responsibilities and time with the child. A parenting plan for adoptive parents should be comprehensive—covering aspects like education, healthcare, and living arrangements.

Get Help From a Florida Divorce Lawyer for Adoptive Parents

At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our Florida divorce attorneys are compassionate, experienced advocates for parents. If you are an adoptive parent who is prepared for a divorce, our legal team is here to help. Contact us today to set up a completely confidential case review. From our Boca Raton office, we are proud to provide family and divorce representation throughout South Florida.

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