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How Does California Handle Adopted Children In A Divorce?

Ronald K. StitchNovember 20, 2019

Divorce is complicated, even if both parties agree on most aspects of the separation process. However, when there are children involved, it can become even more complex. If there is a child who has been adopted by one or both parents, you may wonder what will happen during the divorce process. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our knowledgeable and experienced Westlake Village child custody attorneys are ready to help you through this process. Today, we want to answer some of your questions, but please call us today for a free consultation.

What could happen in these cases?

If you and your spouse made the decision to adopt a child, you did so to bring stability to that child’s life. There are many ways in which adoptions occur. Many people think of traditional adoptions where both parents adopt another child, but it is just as likely that a parent adopts their spouse’s biological child during a marriage.

When divorce occurs, and there are adopted children between the spouses, the situation can become emotionally charged. The law in California is relatively clear on how adopted children are treated in a divorce.

Regardless of what kind of adoption took place (whether two parents adopted a child that was not theirs biologically or a stepparent adopts their spouse’s child), California law considers the adoptive parent to be the legal parent of the child. Non-custodial adult parents lose their parental rights.

Adoptive parents should be treated like any other parent in a California divorce. If a wife has adopted her husband’s biological daughter, then the wife has the same legal right to pursue custody as if she were the biological mother. The actual biological mother will not have the same rights under California law.

Various custody issues involved

In California, both legal custody and physical custody will need to be finalized in a divorce involving adopted children.

Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make important legal decisions in the child’s life (medical, school, religious, etc.). Legal custody can be joint between the two parents, or one parent can have sole custody.

Physical custody refers to where the child will live. This, too, can be joint custody or sole custody. When one parent has physical custody, the non-custodial parent will generally be afforded visitation rights.

Let us get to work on your case today

If you are going through the divorce process, and there are adopted minor children involved, you should seek legal assistance today. This is an emotional and complex process that you should not try to navigate by yourself. There is too much at stake, and the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch are going to ensure you are treated fairly. Our skilled and compassionate team will be there for all aspects of this process. When you need a Westlake Village child custody attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by calling 818-237-4574.

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