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Adoption Lawyers

Adoption serves a legal tie between parent and child. It assigns the emotional, psychological, financial, and legal responsibilities to the adoptive parent. It is a powerful way of affirming your love and commitment to a child who does not share your DNA. It is also a legal process that must be done in accordance with the law. As such, for parents desiring to adopt a child, it is in their best interest to hire an adoption attorney.

What Does an Adoption Lawyer Do?

Adoption attorneys usually focus their practice on family law. Lawyers can play an imperative role in a successful adoption. Their expertise can help the adoption process go smoothly and help you be prepared. Depending on the specifics of your situation, Adoptions lawyers can:

  • File all necessary adoption paperwork
  • Represent the adoptive parents in all necessary court hearings and appointments
  • Assist with birth parent placement adoptions
  • Ensure that adoptive parents have full access to a child’s health records and medical history whenever possible.
  • Help you find an adoption agency
  • Provide guidance surrounding state and country-specific adoption laws

Requirements for Child Adoption in Virginia

Although adoption is usually an exciting experience, it can be stressful as there are strict and complex laws governing the process. Our adoption attorneys assist clients with understanding these requirements and ensuring that they are met.

There is no age or marriage requirement to adopt in this state, and same-sex couples can also adopt. Virginia requires a six-month home residency period before an adoption can be finalized. For children 14 and older, their consent is required. Anyone can apply to adopt a child, but married individuals are required to obtain the legal support of their partner in order to adopt. If you are a felon, you may or may not be eligible to adopt. Generally, if your felony involved a violent crime or a crime against a child, you are ineligible to adopt a child legally. If your felony was of another kind, a social worker might evaluate the circumstances to determine if you meet the qualifications for adoption in this state.

Types of Adoption

  • Agency adoption is the most common in the United States. Traditionally, agency adoption happens when a family chooses to adopt through an agency that serves as the intermediary between the adopting family and the birth parent(s).
  • Foster parent adoption is similar, in many ways, to agency adoption, except that the child being adopted has oftentimes been in the care of the adoptive parents for an extended period of time. Although the goal of the foster-care system is to reunite the child with his or her birth family, sometimes it is in the best interest of the child to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents and amend the foster care goals. In that case, foster parents will often come forward to adopt the child.
  • International adoption is when a child is adopted from another country. In many cases, the adoption is done by an agency that is specially licensed to handle international adoption matters, but the process can be arduous because state and federal adoption laws come into play, as well as the rules of the country from which the child is being adopted.
  • Parental placement adoption happens when a child’s birth parent(s) chooses the adoptive family. But, it’s not always that easy. It mostly depends on how cooperative both parties are during the process.

Do You Need an Adoption Lawyer?

Every adoption has some degree of legal risk. By hiring a local adoption lawyer, you can help decrease this risk. The experienced adoption attorneys at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, can help you understand your rights, comply with the state and federal laws, and structure the adoption to serve both yours and the birth parents’ needs whenever possible. Our adoption services include LBTGQ and step-parent adoptions as well. Contact us to schedule your adoption consultation today.