Stepparent Adoptions In Virginia

As a parent going through a divorce, one of the biggest challenges you may face is child custody. One of the more significant emotional hurdles you will have to overcome is that your former spouse may remarry. If that happens, your child will have a new stepparent in their life. To help you cope with this possibility, those closest to you (and perhaps mental health experts) will explain that regardless of the circumstances, no one can replace you. 

With that in mind, we need to look at what happens when the stepparent wants to formally adopt your child and become their legal parent. Because a child can only have two parents, people worry about these scenarios because it may feel like they are getting replaced. 

Laying the Groundwork

There are specific requirements that would allow a stepparent to adopt their stepchild. For example, if the second parent (the person losing their parental rights) is not in the child’s life, then there may be grounds for the stepparent to adopt the child. This happens when the second parent has passed away, denies that they are the child’s parent, or chooses to relinquish their parental rights. In other words, they don’t intend on objecting or challenging the adoption.

It is also important to note that removing yourself from the child’s life for six months or more constitutes abandonment in Virginia, which could also trigger a stepparent adoption. There are also scenarios in which the birth parent cannot be located or identified because the birth mother does not know who the father is. Although this will not prevent a stepparent from adopting the child, the mother will be expected to swear under oath and say this. 

It should be noted that the child can be the one to pursue the adoption. For this to happen, the child must be at least 14 years old and have lived with the stepparent for a minimum of five years. 

Objecting to the Adoption

What happens if you decide to come back into the child’s life after being removed from it for six months or more? There are multiple reasons why a parent would object to another person adopting their child. When this happens, there will be a formal hearing. During the divorce process, judges make decisions for children according to their best interests, which applies to stepparent adoptions. You and your attorney will have to demonstrate that your continued involvement in the child’s life is in their best interest. 

The Law Offices of Robert Dawson

For professional and experienced legal assistance with an adoption, contact The Law Offices of Robert Dawson to schedule a consultation. The adoption process can be a rewarding and joyous time in both your life. Allow us to help navigate some of the potential challenges you may face along the way. 

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Law Office of Robert Dawson

You have more power than you realize. If you need a professional attorney who has built a reputation within employment and business law, contact the Law Offices of Robert Dawson. We are passionate about protecting our clients and pursuing their interests. Contact us for tailored legal solutions.

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