If a child is being placed across state lines, then another attorney will be necessary. All fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Among the requirements of that law is a provision which makes it a crime to place a child across state lines for the purpose of adoption unless both states have given their prior approval. This approval is obtained by filing substantial documentation with the Interstate Compact offices in both states. In order to accomplish this, the adoptive parents will usually need competent adoption counsel in both states.
The law requires that an attorney be appointed by the court to serve as guardian ad litem for the child. This attorney's job is to investigate and report to the court whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child. This requires the guardain to interview the adoptive parents and the birth parents and to read the Home Study Report.
Virginia does not require that an attorney be retained to represent the birth parents. It is not unusual for a parental placement adoption to proceed without one. It is recommended, however, that the adoptive parents retain an attorney to represent the birth parents. Independent legal counsel is the best method we have to ensure that persons enter into commitments in an informed and fair manner. Also, the very presence of an attorney for the birth parents adds security to the adoption itself.