Adoption Lawyer in Northern Virginia
Fairfax Family Law Attorneys
Adoption is a process that involves very specific rules and procedures,
and adoption law is one area of family law that can be particularly difficult
to navigate without the assistance of legal counsel. There are many types
of adoption, each with their own set of procedures, making adoption an
often complicated and discouraging process.
Adoption procedures can be confusing both for the
biological parents and the adoptive parents. All parties to an adoption case should be informed
about their rights, how the adoption system works, and how best to keep
the child's best interests protected. Adoption is often an experience
that results in the happiest of endings, and with the help of a knowledgeable
adoption lawyer the road to a new family can be made clearer. It is important
that you have a basic knowledge of adoption, regardless of whether you
are welcoming a child into your family or to securing a new family who
will provide a good life for your birth child.
Types of Adoption
There are many different kinds of situations that can lead people to seek
an adoption. Each different type of adoption has its own set of procedures.
Below is some basic information regarding a few of the options in Virginia:
Parental Placement Adoption
When a child's birth parent chooses the adoptive family directly,
it is typically known as parental placement adoption. This kind of an
adoption, like many other adoptions, is substantially impacted by the
level of cooperation of
both birth parents. Birth parents may seek a an individual or a couple to adopt
their child. Often times this type of adoption is undertaken by a biological
mother of a child whose father is not identified, or not easily located.
In such circumstances the parties seeking to proceed with the adoption
must comply with certain rules that require that reasonable efforts be
made to locate and obtain the consent of the biological father.
As the adoption case proceeds, there are certain requirements that all
parties receive counseling about the alternatives to adoption. Courts
require assurances that no party is proceeding with the adoption based
on coercion or any other means of force. Additionally, there are very
specific parameters regarding financial agreements made in connection
with adoptions because the law prohibits financial compensation for adoption
except in connection with reimbursement of certain expenses incurred as
part of the adoption process.
In parental placement adoptions, a home study is conducted in which the
adoptive family must provide personal information such as an autobiographical
statement, references, background checks, income and health statements.
Additionally interviews and home visits are conducted, in order to ascertain
whether the adoptive family is suitable and can provide an appropriate
home and environment for the child.
Should all of the statutory requirements be met and the outcome of the
home study be favorable to the adoptive parents, then the parties may
appear before a judge to request that the adoption be ordered...
This form of adoption is one of the most common in the United States.
Agency adoption can occur in the more traditionally considered circumstance,
i.e. when a family chooses to adopt through an agency and the agency works
as the intermediary between the family and the birth parent(s). However,
agency adoption can also take place in a situation where a child has been
abandoned, abused or neglected. Home studies are required of the adoptive
parents and it is also usually required that the
biological parents' parental rights are terminated before the adoption can proceed. In some cases the court will enter an
interlocutory order, which grants the adoptive parents parental rights,
but subject to a six month probationary period. However, in many cases,
after the child has been in the custody of the adoptive parents for six
months or more, the interlocutory order is unnecessary and the parties
can proceed to finalization of the adoption.
Another common choice is adopting a child from another country. In many
cases, this is performed through an agency that is specially licensed
to handle international adoption matters. This process can be particularly
arduous, as the adoptive parents must comply with the laws of the state
in which they reside, federal law governing adoption, and the rules of
the country from which they are adopting a child. Also, because the child
is not an American citizen, the adoptive parents must apply for a visa
that allows the child to enter the United States. Even after a foreign
adoption order is obtained, it is typically a good idea to re-adopt the
child in their home state. Considering the complicated procedures involved
in international adoptions, and the many jurisdictions in which adoptive
parents must ensure they have complied with the laws, having a knowledgeable
lawyer to provide critical legal guidance and counsel can help the process
run more smoothly.
Foster Parent Adoption
Foster parent adoption is similar, in many ways, to agency adoption. However,
in foster care adoptions it is most often the case that the child who
is being adopted has been in the care of his/her adoptive parents for
some time, and both parents and child have received the benefit of some
duration of regular and meaningful interaction.
When a child enters the foster care system, the initial goal of the social
services program is typically to reunite the child to their birth family
whenever possible. However, in some cases where there is a lack of contact
between parent(s) and child and/or the continued relationship between
parent(s) and child is shown to be contrary to the child's best interests,
the rights of the parent(s) can be terminated and the child may become
eligible for adoption. In such a case, the foster parents will often seek
to adopt the child.
Hire a Northern Virginia Adoption Attorney
If you are seeking to adopt a child, or to put your child up for adoption,
it is critical that you understand the process and make the right decision
in selecting counsel who can keep you informed and skillfully guide you
adoption process. With help from an adoption lawyer from ShounBach, you won't have
to worry. Our firm is dedicated to the practice of family law, and has
been for over 40 years. We have more than 200 years of collective legal
experience, so you can rest assured that your case will be in good hands
if you should bring us into your case. Our attorneys are AV-rated and
have been awarded a multitude of recognitions by the likes of Super Lawyers®,
Northern Virginia Magazine, and the Washingtonian, among other prestigious
professional publications. We offer prospective adoptive parents an
adoption FAQ page so they may read answers to frequently asked adoption questions.
Contact a Northern Virginia adoption lawyer from ShounBach. We are ready to provide you sound advice and representation
in your adoption case.