Virginia Adoption Lawyer Abingdon VA
Virginia Adoption Law Firm Abingdon Virginia
Adoption and termination of parental rights can be emotionally taxing for all parties involved; however, it can also be a life-changing event that can positively impact a child’s upbringing and future. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we are available to represent both biological and adoptive parents in Abingdon and surrounding communities, including Ashleys, Cummings Heights, Fractionville, Madison, Morningside Hills, Shady Grove, Watauga, and throughout Southwest Virginia.
Beginning a new family with a child of any age can be exciting, as can placing your child in a stable home that will afford them ample opportunities for future growth and security. In both cases, we offer compassionate representation and seek to protect all involved parties’ legal rights and responsibilities. If you need help with a contested or uncontested adoption in Virginia, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal rights. We offer affordable, competitive hourly rates and accept credit cards.
How Does Adoption Work in Virginia?
Adoption is a process whereby minors who have been permanently and legally separated from their biological parents are placed with new parents. Adoptive parents are generally given the same rights and obligations as birth parents, while the rights and obligations of the biological parents are terminated.
What Types of Adoption Placements Exist in Virginia?
In Virginia, there are two types of adoption placements:
- Agency Adoptions. Agency placements occur when a minor is in the custody of social services or a licensed child placement agency. When this situation arises, all parental rights of one or (usually) both biological parents are terminated, granting an agency the right to place a child up for and consent to an adoption.
- Non-Agency Adoptions. Non-agency adoptions occur when a child is not in the custody of an agency, meaning one or both of the birth parents or guardians consent to an adoption, and parental rights are terminated upon entry of a final order of adoption.
There are three types of non-agency adoptions, including stepparent, parental placement, and adult adoptions. In both stepparent and adult adoptions, background and home investigations are typically only needed if a court determines they are necessary. On the other hand, in agency and parental placement adoptions, a home study report must typically be conducted before an adoption will be approved.
What Are the Steps for a Parental Placement Adoption in Abingdon, Virginia?
The following are the steps involved in a parental placement adoption:
- An agency receives a home-study request;
- A home study is completed;
- A report of a home study is submitted to a juvenile and domestic relations court;
- The adoptive parents file a petition for execution of consent;
- The court reviews and accepts a consent and awards custody to the adoptive parents;
- A petition for adoption is filed in Circuit Court, and the court orders an interlocutory order of adoption if all legal requirements are met; and
- After a six-month supervisory period, the Circuit Court enters a final order of adoption.
Can A Birth Parent Revoke an Adoption Consent?
Under Virginia law, biological parents may revoke consent under two circumstances:
- Consent is revocable by either consenting birth parent for any reason for up to seven days from its execution; however, such revocation period may be waived in writing at the time of consent (as long as a child is at least ten days old and the biological parents acknowledge having received independent legal counsel regarding the effect of such waiver); or
- Consent is revocable by any party before the final order of adoption if proof of fraud or duress is submitted or (after placement) both the birth and adoptive parents mutually consent in writing to revoke the adoption.
Because it is possible to revoke an adoption consent, it is in the best interests of all parties to consult with an experienced Virginia adoption attorney to help navigate the process and ensure the best chances of avoiding a potentially contentious situation.
What is a Home Study?
A home study is required for almost all Virginia adoptions (with a few limited exceptions). A home study typically involves an accredited organization or business investigating prospective adoptive parents and anyone else living in their home. This investigation typically consists of reviewing:
- Current family dynamics;
- Future family dynamics (with the addition of the child);
- Reasons for wanting to adopt;
- Educational background of adoptive parents;
- Family histories;
- Work histories;
- The financial well-being of the adoptive parents;
- Criminal backgrounds (of all individuals living within the home); and
- Any other pertinent details that a home-study agency deems relevant.
A home study is regulated by Virginia law and generally lasts five to nine weeks. Thus, it is critical for those eager to proceed to request a study as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we can fully explain the home study process and provide guidance on how to improve your chances of meeting all requirements.
Do I Have Any Visitation Rights If My Child is Adopted?
Adoption can be a life-altering event in an individual’s life. If you are considering adoption, whether you are a biological or adoptive parent, it is critical to understand the rights you and your family will have once the adoption is complete.
Once an adoption is finalized in Virginia, the rights and responsibilities of biological parents typically cease, meaning biological parents no longer have an obligation to provide financial or physical support for a child. Additionally, birth parents also generally lose physical custody and the right to make any legal decisions. Essentially, the rights of biological parents are fully transferred to the adoptive parents.
Although adoption generally ends a biological parent’s legal rights, alternative arrangements may be possible. Many individuals opt for open adoptions, meaning the birth and adoptive parents create a written agreement that allows for visitation and/or regular updates regarding the child.
Without a written agreement, adoptive parents may be able to restrict contact with a child. Therefore, before signing adoption paperwork or any agreement, it is critical to speak with an experienced Abingdon adoption lawyer to ensure all parties’ objectives are appropriately addressed.
Call Our Experienced Abingdon Adoption Attorneys to Learn More About Virginia Adoptions.
At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we help clients with both agency and non-agency adoptions. Call our offices to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help meet your family’s objectives and protect your legal rights.