It is an enormous responsibility and a great privilege to take on the role of a foster parent. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a couple that undertakes foster parenting to face divorce while caring for one or more children. This does not have to mean the end of your foster relationship with the child, but it does present some unique challenges to the divorcing couple that need to be addressed properly so that they can keep caring for the child responsibly.
It should come as no surprise that the Department of Health and Human Services will need to be made aware of the changes occurring in your home. The department will almost certainly re-evaluate your foster care license, since it was initially granted on the basis of your income, the number of caregivers and the nature of the housing. Divorce almost always affects at least one of these factors, so it is possible that the department will declare that your foster care license is invalid because you no longer are able to meet the needs of the child in your guardianship.
It is also required for the family keeping a child to notify the department of any changes in “family status.” Because divorce can often create a difficult household to live in, the department will want to determine if the divorce process is yielding a “hostile environment” for the foster child. If a couple is able to work together in the divorce process to maintain an acceptable environment for the foster child, it is possible that the department will allow for the couple to continue to care for him or her.
When walking through a divorce, obtaining the representation of the right attorney can be vital to maintaining good relationships between all the parties involved. Divorces are never something that is hoped for when entering into a marriage, but with the guidance of an experienced, caring attorney, the process can remain respectful so that all parties’ rights are respected and protected.