Adoption | Parental Placements | Relative

The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

RELATIVE ADOPTIONS IN VIRGINIA

Under Virginia law, relative adoptions differentiate between whether the child has been in the home of the relative(s) for three years or more – or under three years. Also, uncontested and simple placements are less expensive than contested or more complicated placements.

CHILD IN HOME LESS THAN THREE YEARS

If the child has been in the home for less than three years – then a home study is going to be required and the initial petition needs to be filed in the juvenile and domestic relations general district court. The birth parent consents can be signed out of court – including the birth mother’s consent (unlike a parental placement adoption) and the home study needs to be turned into a report to court by the agency conducting the home study. The consents and report to court are filed with the court and no hearing is required. After the juvenile and domestic relations general district court accepts the consents and report to court, it will enter an order terminating the birth parents’ rights and enter an order transferring custody (or re-affirming custody) with the adoptive parents pending the circuit court proceedings. Then a petition for adoption is filed with the circuit court to complete the adoption.

CHILD IN HOME THREE OR MORE YEARS

If the child is in the home for three or more years, then no home study is required. The birth parent consents still can be signed out of court and the petition for adoption gets filed in the circuit court. The circuit court has the discretion to either go straight to entry of a Final Order or can enter an Order of Reference which orders a licensed child-placement agency or the local department of social services to do a report of investigation which needs to be filed within sixty (60) days. If the court chooses to enter an Order of Reference, then once that report of investigation is filed with the court, then the court will enter the Final Order.

FEES AND COSTS FOR UNCONTESTED AND SIMPLE RELATIVE ADOPTIONS

Uncontested relative adoptions generally are done on a flat fee basis. Uncontested placements are when: both birth parents sign consents or one parent signs a consent and the other is deceased or the birth mom consents and affirms that the birth father’s identity is unknown or the birth mom consents and the birth father signs a denial of paternity. We charge a $1000 flat fee to do a relative adoption under three years and $750 for a relative adoption three or more years. Costs are in addition to the fee (filing fee in Circuit Court normally is about $89 and new birth certificate fees for two birth certificates in Virginia are $34) and we usually get a retainer for costs in the amount of $150. In addition – if the local department of social services or local child-placement agency needs to do a home study report to court or report of investigation, then those amounts are separate and above the legal fees and are paid directly to the agency or local department of social services.

CONTESTED OR MORE COMPLICATED RELATIVE ADOPTIONS

If one birth parent will not sign a consent – or if the identity is known but the whereabouts are not known – then the relative adoption becomes more complicated and typically cannot be done on a flat fee basis – or will involve a surcharge because in such instances a hearing typically is required. This also is the case if the adoption is based on grounds of abandonment where the birth parent has failed to have any contact with the child for six months prior to the filing of the petition for adoption.

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Relative


RELATIVE ADOPTIONS IN VIRGINIA

Under Virginia law, relative adoptions differentiate between whether the child has been in the home of the relative(s) for three years or more – or under three years. Also, uncontested and simple placements are less expensive than contested or more complicated placements.

CHILD IN HOME LESS THAN THREE YEARS

If the child has been in the home for less than three years – then a home study is going to be required and the initial petition needs to be filed in the juvenile and domestic relations general district court. The birth parent consents can be signed out of court – including the birth mother’s consent (unlike a parental placement adoption) and the home study needs to be turned into a report to court by the agency conducting the home study. The consents and report to court are filed with the court and no hearing is required. After the juvenile and domestic relations general district court accepts the consents and report to court, it will enter an order terminating the birth parents’ rights and enter an order transferring custody (or re-affirming custody) with the adoptive parents pending the circuit court proceedings. Then a petition for adoption is filed with the circuit court to complete the adoption.

CHILD IN HOME THREE OR MORE YEARS

If the child is in the home for three or more years, then no home study is required. The birth parent consents still can be signed out of court and the petition for adoption gets filed in the circuit court. The circuit court has the discretion to either go straight to entry of a Final Order or can enter an Order of Reference which orders a licensed child-placement agency or the local department of social services to do a report of investigation which needs to be filed within sixty (60) days. If the court chooses to enter an Order of Reference, then once that report of investigation is filed with the court, then the court will enter the Final Order.

FEES AND COSTS FOR UNCONTESTED AND SIMPLE RELATIVE ADOPTIONS

Uncontested relative adoptions generally are done on a flat fee basis. Uncontested placements are when: both birth parents sign consents or one parent signs a consent and the other is deceased or the birth mom consents and affirms that the birth father’s identity is unknown or the birth mom consents and the birth father signs a denial of paternity. We charge a $1000 flat fee to do a relative adoption under three years and $750 for a relative adoption three or more years. Costs are in addition to the fee (filing fee in Circuit Court normally is about $89 and new birth certificate fees for two birth certificates in Virginia are $34) and we usually get a retainer for costs in the amount of $150. In addition – if the local department of social services or local child-placement agency needs to do a home study report to court or report of investigation, then those amounts are separate and above the legal fees and are paid directly to the agency or local department of social services.

CONTESTED OR MORE COMPLICATED RELATIVE ADOPTIONS

If one birth parent will not sign a consent – or if the identity is known but the whereabouts are not known – then the relative adoption becomes more complicated and typically cannot be done on a flat fee basis – or will involve a surcharge because in such instances a hearing typically is required. This also is the case if the adoption is based on grounds of abandonment where the birth parent has failed to have any contact with the child for six months prior to the filing of the petition for adoption.

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4928 W BROAD ST
PO BOX 11708
RICHMOND, VA 23230

PHONE: (804) 285-6253
FAX: (804) 545-9400

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