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Understanding Virginia Adoption Laws

At Pedersen Law, PLLC, our experienced Williamsburg adoption attorneys are here to guide you through the legalities of adoption and provide support for your family’s future.

June 17, 2024

You want to share your home and your life with a bigger family, and have started to consider adoption. Do you want to know more about the legal aspects? At Pedersen Law, PLLC, our experienced Williamsburg adoption attorneys are here to guide you through the legalities of adoption and provide support for your family’s future. 

What are Virginia Adoption Laws?

Virginia adoption laws govern the process of adopting a child, ensuring the best interests of the child and prospective parents are protected. Law requires a six-month home residency period prior to finalization and the consent of children 14 and older. Anyone may apply to adopt a child, but married persons must file jointly unless it is a stepparent, in which case the biological parent signs a petition giving consent.

Types of Adoptions in Virginia

Adoption is defined in Chapter 12 of the Code of Virginia. There are only two types of adoptive placements that are allowed by Virginia law. These are agency placements and non-agency placements. The Virginia Department of Social Services defines these as:

Agency Placements: are through local departments of social services or licensed child-placing agencies. Agency placements occur when the child is in the custody of the Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) or licensed child-placing agency. In this situation, all parental rights are terminated, custody with authority to place for adoption is granted to the agency, and the agency consents to the child's adoption.

Non-agency Adoptions:  are parental, stepparent, adult, close relative, and intercountry placements. Non-agency adoptions involve children who are not placed in the custody of a Local Department of Social Services and are administered by Licensed Child Placing Agencies (LCPA). In a non-agency placement, the birth parents or legal guardian(s) consent to the adoption, and parental rights are terminated by entry of the final order of adoption. A parental placement adoption is one where the birth parent places the child with the prospective adoptive parent(s). LDSS is not involved in these adoptions unless the Circuit Court orders the LDSS or LCPA to provide a report of investigation or a suitability report.

Working with a Williamsburg Adoption Lawyer

Having a knowledgeable adoption lawyer by your side can make the adoption process easier for you and your growing family. A Williamsburg adoption lawyer can help you understand your rights, obligations, and options throughout the adoption journey. Our team at Pedersen Law PLLC is dedicated to providing compassionate legal guidance tailored to your unique situation.

Our adoption lawyer services include:

  • Finding a reputable private or public adoption agency 
  • Preparing necessary paperwork on your behalf
  • Providing the necessary legal support and counsel
  • Negotiating the terms of the adoption
  • Helping you meet contractual obligations

In addition, we will offer the legal support you need if there are disputes or legal issues throughout the adoption process. Our legal team will also attend all court appearances and negotiate with the adoption agency when necessary.

Let Us Help You Prepare to Be A Parent, Get Counsel From Pedersen Law, PLLC Today

Come into the adoption process with confidence when you have experienced counsel on your side. Contact Pedersen Law, PLLC today to schedule a consultation with a trusted Williamsburg adoption lawyer. We have more than a decade of experience helping families and individuals adopt children, and we understand the complexities of adoption proceedings. Let us help you build the family you've always wanted.