Fairfax Stepparent Adoption Attorney
Serving Clients in Northern Virginia and Statewide
When a parent remarries, the stepparent may become more of a parent to the child than the other birth parent. When this happens, it may be in the child’s best interests to be adopted by his or her stepparent. Stepparent adoption is the most common form of adoption. If the absent parent has had little contact with the child and is willing to sign a consent, then the process can be relatively straightforward.
With over 30 years’ experience, attorney Robert H. Klima provides adoption legal services to stepparents wanting to adopt their stepchildren. If you have questions about the process in Virginia, call a Manassas and Fairfax stepparent adoption lawyer at 703-361-5051.
What if the Birth Parent Cannot Be Found?
The birth parent of a child to be adopted may not be ignored. He or she has the same rights as any other parent until the adoption takes place, even if he or she is not listed on a birth certificate and has not seen or supported the child. If the birth parent cannot be found through a diligent effort to do so, he or she may be served with notice of the proceeding by publication of notice in a local newspaper. If the written consent of a birth parent cannot be obtained, then the court will require that a home study investigation and report be conducted by the local Department of Social Services.
What if the Birth Parent Refuses to Consent?
Virginia law provides that the court may enter an adoption even when one of the birth parents does not consent to the adoption. Before a court can do this, the judge must find that the consent of the birth parent is unavailable or is being withheld contrary to the best interests of the child. This involves an investigation by the Department of Social Services and a trial in court at which time evidence is presented to show why the adoption is in the best interests of the child. In making the important determination that the consent of a birth parent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, the court must consider all relevant factors, including:
- The efforts of the birth parent to obtain or maintain legal and physical custody of the child
- Whether the birth parent is currently ready and able to assume custody of the child
- Whether the birth parent’s efforts to assert parental rights were thwarted by other people
- The birth parent’s ability to care for the child
- The age of the child
- The quality of any previous relationship between the birth parent and the child
- The quality of any relationship between the birth parent and any other children
- The duration and suitability of the child’s present custodial environment
- The effect of a change of custody on the child
Fairfax stepparent adoption lawyer Robert H. Klima has handled more than 2,500 successful adoptions throughout the state since beginning the practice of law in 1978. Because of his extensive trial experience, he has been called upon to try contested adoption cases, as well, throughout the Commonwealth.
Contact a Prince William County Stepchild Adoption Lawyer
Robert H. Klima, P.C., provides adoption legal services throughout Northern Virginia and Central Virginia from our office in Manassas. For more information, call 703-361-5051 to speak directly with Mr. Klima or to schedule a consultation to discuss stepparent adoption and all your adoption options. You can also send an e-mail.