Many people have a desire to become parents, and while some people fulfill this desire by raising biological children, others seek to expand their families via adoption. While adopting a child may be an exciting and rewarding experience, it can also be a legally complicated process, and it is important for anyone considering adopting a child to speak to an attorney regarding what to expect and the steps that are necessary to complete the process. At Robinson Law, our dedicated Fairfax adoption lawyers have ample experience helping people complete adoptions in a smooth and efficient manner, and we can guide you through the process of bringing your child home. We proudly assist people in adoption proceedings throughout Northern Virginia.Requirements for Adopting a Child in Virginia
In Virginia, a child may be placed for adoption by a licensed child-placing agency, a local board, or the child’s legal guardian or parent. A petition for the adoption of a child must be filed in the county where the intended parent resides, where the child-placing agency is located, or where the birth parent’s consent to the adoption was executed. In general, any adult who lives in Virginia may file a petition for adoption, but adoptions are not permitted for people convicted of violent sex crimes or for registered sex offenders. Additionally, if a person seeking to adopt a child is married, his or her spouse must adopt the child as well.
Generally, a court will not grant a petition for adoption unless the petitioner files written consent to the adoption along with the petition. Our adoption attorneys can help Fairfax residents complete the required steps. Consent usually must be provided by the child-placing agency or by the birth mother and father (or the man presumed to be the father), but parental consent is not needed in certain circumstances. If the child is 14 years old or older, he or she must consent to the adoption as well, unless the court finds that the adoption is in the best interest of the child and finds that consent is not necessary. Additionally, a petition for adoption may be granted in certain instances in which consent cannot be obtained or is withheld if the court determines that granting the petition is in the child’s best interest.The Adoption Process
Once an adoption petition is filed, the court will refer the matter to a child-placing agency to conduct an investigation and draft a report regarding the findings of the investigation, unless an investigation is not necessary because an exception applies. The investigation will assess numerous factors, including whether the person seeking to adopt the child has the financial means to care for the child, and whether the person is sufficiently mentally and physically healthy to raise the child. The report will include a recommendation as to whether the petition should be granted.
In certain cases, the court will then issue an interlocutory order stating that the child can become the child of the petitioner only after a probationary period expires. Our Fairfax adoption attorneys can guide you through this process. A probationary period is not required in all circumstances. When a probationary period is required, at least three visits will be conducted over six months by the child-placing agency or by a local director of social services to determine whether the adoption will benefit the child. Following the visits, the agency representative or local director of social services will provide the court with a written report of the findings from the visits. After the court considers the report produced from the visits that occurred during the probationary period, it will enter a final order of adoption if it is satisfied that adoption will serve the best interest of the child. Once the final order is issued, the child’s birth parents or prior adoptive parents are divested of all legal rights and obligations with respect to the child, and the petitioner becomes the legal parent of the child.Contact a Skillful Adoption Lawyer in Fairfax
Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family, but it is important for anyone considering adopting a child to carefully complete the process. The skillful attorneys at Robinson Law can assist people with adoption proceedings and other family law matters in Fairfax and other areas of Northern Virginia. You can contact us via our online form or at our offices in Fairfax and Manassas by calling (888) 259-9787 to set up a confidential meeting to discuss your case.