When considering a divorce in Pasadena, adoptive parents have some special issues that they must address in preparing a proper settlement.
Legally, as long as the adoption has been finalized, the rights of the parents are the same as if they had given birth to the child naturally. The adoption agency or the state court will not come and "take back" your child if you and your spouse decide to divorce. If the adoption has not been finalized, however, there may be some concern. Different agencies have different policies regarding adopting as a single parent, so you will need to contact your adoption caseworker to learn more about how to proceed. It will often still be possible for the adoption to continue, but additional home study requirements may be needed.
Child support is a common concern for all divorcing parents, but can be of additional importance to adoptive parents due to the added cost of the adoption process. If you are receiving adoption subsidy assistance based on a child's disability, however, it's important to remember that this is entirely separate from any child support payments that the non-custodial parent would owe. Adoption subsidies are designed to help offset the cost associated with raising a special needs child. They are not intended to substitute for standard parental support obligations.
A good resource for information about adoption and divorce is local support groups for adoptive parents. While you may feel that you want to keep your marital problems private, other adoptive parents can help you understand the special considerations of divorcing after you've adopted a child. Having a strong source of emotional support can also make it easier to work together with your ex to minimize the impact your divorce will have on your children.
The special needs of the adoptive parent are something that not every Pasadena divorce lawyer will be familiar with. When you are interviewing attorneys, ask specifically about the lawyer's experience in dealing with adoptive families before making your final decision. Having a lawyer with the skills and experience to advocate on your behalf is crucial to making sure you get a fair settlement.