Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

    Learn More »
  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

    Learn More »
  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

    Learn More »

Divorce in Virginia: What Happens to the Adopted Child?


If you are preparing for a divorce and you have children involved, it’s stressful enough. But, what happens if you have an adopted child? Aside from an increase in guilt and anxiety in many cases, some parents worry that the breakup might affect the adoption. It is important to note that if the divorce takes place during the adoption phase itself, it can have negative effects on the outcome.

Spouses who separate and have already adopted children still have the same responsibilities and rights as if the children were biologically related. You are required to take care of them, and you also have the right to make important decisions on their behalf. Depending on the terms of the custody agreement, you may still be required to provide a secure and safe home, and ensure they receive basic necessities like food and access to medical care.

What Happens if You Divorce During the Adoption Process?

Couples who plan to file for divorce while an adoption is pending could be facing problems with the completion of the adoption. In situations where the birth parents are involved, they may have legal grounds to no longer proceed with the adoption. In many cases, there may be a condition in the adoption agreement that the child must be adopted by a couple that is married.

If the birth parents are having second thoughts about the adoption in the first place, this could give them legal cause to stop the adoption process. However, if they have already terminated their parental rights then they will have no cause for a legal objection. Either way, the judge has the final say on whether the adoption will proceed. He or she will take how the divorce will further affect the child in question into account. This means the adoption could proceed as planned, the judge may modify it making one spouse the adoptive parent, or they could deny the adoption.

Things to Keep in Mind with Adopted Children During a Divorce

It’s helpful to remember that divorce is hard on children, but it can be especially hard on children who are adopted. It’s in your best interest to help your children have the easiest transition during this difficult period. Try not to badmouth your spouse in front of the children. Do not create a situation where they feel stuck in the middle of your divorce and need to take sides.

You and your ex should be committed to putting the children’s interests first, no matter how heated the divorce gets. The emotional needs of a child are important, and adopted children may need extra emotional support. In addition, you should refrain from introducing new partners to your children for the immediate future.

You may find your adopted child needs extra reassurance through the divorce process. Often times adopted children already wonder why their own biological parents gave them up and whether they did something wrong that contributed to their being given up in the first place. The divorce could trigger even more insecurities.

Retaining a Virginia Family Law Attorney

If you have questions regarding divorce and adoption or any other family law matters, contact the team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation. Let one of our experienced Virginia family law attorneys help you with your family law needs.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2017 - 2020 Whitbeck, Cisneros, McElroy, P.C., Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.



Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!