Step-Parent Adoption In Virginia




In this age of divorce, remarriage and “blended families,” it is common for a new step-parent to adopt a step-child and assume parental rights for that child. Virginia law accommodates this practice and makes it a relatively simple process, provided the parent who would be terminating parental rights is either deceased, is willing and able to consent to the adoption or is completely unknown.

How to adopt a step-child in Virginia

 Virginia Code Section 63.2-1241 outlines the legal procedures for “adoption of child by spouse of birth or adoptive parent.” This code also states that potential adoptive step-parents must file for adoption in Virginia Circuit Court. The “custodial parent” must also join the petition, which demonstrates their approval of the adoption.

If the other birth parent is deceased or an unknown person, the adoption will likely move forward. If, however, the other birth parent is a known individual whose current whereabouts are unknown, the process becomes more complicated. Your experienced Virginia adoption attorney can help locate the other birth parent, who must sign consent to the adoption.  If this consent is received, then the adoption may proceed.

If the other birth parent does not consent to the adoption, or if a last known address cannot be located for them, this further complicates the matter, and a hearing before a judge must be scheduled.  The judge will then consider all the factors in the adoption case, including, but not limited to:

  • Abandonment: If the other birth parent has not had any contact with the child for at least six months prior to the adoption petition, “clear and convincing evidence” of abandonment may be brought before the court. 
  • Contest of the adoption: If the birth parent whose parental rights would be terminated by the adoption appears at the hearing, they must contest the adoption on the ground that it would not serve the best interests of the child, and must prove through evidence why that is the case. 

Darrell M. Harding, Attorney at Law has helped Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach area families with the adoption process for more than 20 years.

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Virginia Beach: 757-499-2600
Chesapeake: 757-401-6804
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"In every case Mr. Harding takes, he strives to provide his clients with the highest level of legal service. If you choose Darrell M. Harding Attorney At Law, PLC to represent you, you can expect to receive experienced legal guidance and be treated with the utmost courtesy and respect at all times."

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  • Virginia Beach Office

    Address

    5366 Virginia Beach Boulevard, AAA Building.
    Suite 301
    Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

  • Chesapeake Office

    Address

    2010 Old Greenbrier Road
    Suite L
    Chesapeake, Virginia 23320

    Phone

    757-401-6804

  • Norfolk Office

    Address

    1500 E Little Creek Road
    Suite 309
    Norfolk, Virginia 23518

    Phone

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    Mr Thomas F. Harding is an Attorney that I admire and very knowledgeable, He started on my case in May of 2019 and still in progress and soon to be over, but when I first went to Mr Harding office I was so afraid to go forward with my divor...
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    Working with this firm was an excellent experience! The communication was great and I cannot believe how fast my divorce was!! These guys are highly recommended!!

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    Mr. Jeff Harding and his secretary made my process very simple. Very compassionate about helping others.

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    I would highly recommend. Mr. Harding is a very good attorney. I was very pleased with him and the outcome of my case.

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