Virginia Adoption Laws

Adopting a child can be a wonderful, exciting experience. However, there are strict laws that govern the process, and it can be complex. If you are considering adopting a child in Virginia, this article will give you a short overview of the law, a breakdown of the main statute, and some resources you can use to start your journey.

Virginia Adoption Laws at a Glance

The finer points of adoption law, such as residency requirements and the age at which a child's consent is needed, tend to vary from state to state. Virginia adoption laws, for instance, require a six-month home residency period prior to finalization and require the consent of children 14 and older. Anyone may apply to adopt a child, but married petitioners must obtain the legal support of their spouse in order to adopt.

How to Adopt a Child in Virginia

Virginia adoption law allows for either agency placements or non-agency placements (direct parental placement, for instance). Prospective parents must complete a home residency in order to have a child placed in their home. Upon completion of the six-month residency, the adoptive parents must petition the court and obtain consent from the agency in order to finalize the adoption.

The Virginia Department of Social Services maintains a suite of resources to help prospective parents navigate the adoption process. These resources include a listing of children available for adoption in Virginia; an Adoption Inquiry Form, which helps refer families to the appropriate adoption agencies; and a legal overview of the adoption process in Virginia.

The main provisions of Virginia adoption laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Adoption section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section 63.2-1200, et seq.
Who May Be Adopted Any child; adult under certain conditions
Age that Child's Consent Needed 14 years and older
Who May Adopt Any natural person may petition to adopt minor child. If petitioner is married, spouse must join. Any natural person may adopt another adult under certain conditions.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption? 6 months (may be omitted by court)
State Agency/Court Public Welfare or Social Services/Circuit
Statute of Limitations to Challenge 6 months

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia adoption attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Virginia Adoption Laws: Related Resources

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