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Divorce & Adopted Children

divorce and adoption

Divorce and Adopted Children: A Journey of Compassion and Resilience

Divorce is a challenging experience for any family, but when adopted children are involved, it can bring unique complexities and emotions to the forefront. In many cases, the adopted children may have already experienced significant loss or trauma before their adoption, making the prospect of another major life change particularly dauting for them. Despite these emotional complexities, the law concerning adopted children following divorce is clear. Once the process of adoption has been finalised, it is considered permanent and family law makes no distinction between biological and adopted children.

In this blog, we aim to delve into the unique dynamics of navigating divorce with adopted children, offering insights, guidance, and support for families facing this journey.

Understanding the Dynamics:

Adoption is a beautiful yet complex journey, often involving layers of loss, identity exploration, and attachment dynamics. Divorce can be particularly difficult for adopted children, many of whom are dealing with the deep and abiding scars left by a lack of familial stability during their early lives. When divorce enters the picture, these scars and feelings of uncertainty, abandonment, and confusion can be reopened. Recognising these dynamics is the first step in offering compassionate support during this challenging time.

It can also be particularly difficult for the parents involved. When two people make a decision to adopt they are essentially committing themselves to a promise to provide their child with a stable, loving and secure home for their child that will last a lifetime. However, we can’t always predict these things, and now that divorce is in the picture, it is now time to figure out how best navigate this journey for yourself and for your children.

Key Considerations for Helping an Adopted Child Cope with Divorce:

Open communication:

It is crucial to maintain open and honest communication with your children throughout the divorce process. Prioritise age-appropriate conversations that reassure your children of their worth, love and belonging. Be open to their emotions, addressing their questions and fears with patience and empathy, fostering an environment where they feel safe expressing themselves.

Reassurance of Stability:

Amidst the upheaval of divorce, adopted children crave stability and security more than ever. Preserve routines, rituals, and familiar environments whenever possible, providing a sense of continuity amidst change. Assure children that while the family structure may shift, your love and commitment to their well-being remain unwavering. Continue to embrace your shared love and passion of being parents. Both of you partook on a lengthy journey to be parents, don’t let these positive aspects you both shared as partners get lost in your separation. It is so important to keep this goal at the centre of the divorce process and to avoid exposing children to conflict.

Professional Support:

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and resources to help navigate divorce involving children. Therapy, support groups, and online communities can offer invaluable guidance, empathy, and reassurance during this challenging time. Don’t forget to prioritise your own well-being also, recognising that caring for yourself enables you to better support your children throughout the journey. It is always wise to seek legal advice in relation to any financial claims for children.  Being well informed can help to alleviate worries.  Consult with a child law specialist. 

Maintain Routines:

Consistency and routine can provide a sense of stability for children during times of upheaval. Try to maintain familiar routines and rituals as much as possible, even if certain aspects of their daily life are changing. Whatever your new feelings and views towards your partner it is important to promote a positive relationship between parents and children.

Co-parenting with Compassion:

Effective co-parenting and child arrangements are essential for the well-being of  children during and after divorce. Strive to cultivate a collaborative relationship with your ex-spouse, prioritising your children’s needs above personal grievances. Maintain consistency in parenting approaches, rules, and expectations across households, ensuring a sense of coherence and stability for your children.

Parental Responsibility:

Adoptive parents have the same rights and obligations as biological parents when a child is legally adopted. This implies that when deciding on childcare arrangements during divorce proceedings, the court will handle adopted children in a matter akin to that of biological children.

In terms of childcare arrangements, the best interests of the child will take precedence in the court; this includes considering the child’s age, needs, emotional health, and each parent’s capacity to provide a loving and stable home. Also keep in mind the wider family and the need to keep those relationships positive. Grandparents can often be crucial in making this transition a success.


Keep in mind that every family is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating a divorce with children. While divorce with adopted children is a journey fraught with challenges, emotions and uncertainties, it is also an opportunity to demonstrate resilience, compassion, and unwavering love for your children. By prioritising open communication, stability, and support, you can help your adopted children navigate this transition with strength, grace, and a deep sense of belonging. Always reach out and seek support when you need it and embrace the power of community as you navigate this chapter of your family’s story.

Support Organisations:


Young Minds –Transition & times of change

Gingerbread – Helping children through separation

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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