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Virginia Adoptions (Title 63.2: Welfare (Social Services); Chapter 12: Adoption; Sections 1200-1500)

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, adoptions are very complicated.  Typically, when family law cases are heard before a court, a “best interest of the child” standard is usually adopted as the golden standard used to adjudicate custody/visitation matters.  The complication occurs because the standard used in custody/visitation hearings are not the same standards that are used in determining parental rights when it comes to adoptions.  In face, adoptions are handled entirely by a separate and distinct code section that sets forth a different standard in determining parental rights.  Additionally, unlike custody/visitation Orders that are often subject to modifications, adoption hearings are more difficult to address post-judgment.

Short of taking away one’s liberties in a criminal trial, many judges will agree that contested adoption proceedings are a close 1(B) when it comes to precedents on the courts docket.  The reason for this is that a contested adoption proceeding is essentially a termination of parental rights hearing.  If one were to lose the hearing, that individual loses all rights with respect to his/her child.  It is vital to consult an attorney with experience in dealing with adoption proceedings to help assist with the process.