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A Closer Look At Step-Parent Adoptions

Adoption can be an enriching experience. When a biological parent passes away or has abandoned a child, step-parents may choose to adopt the child formally. Though you must take several legal steps, an attorney can guide you through this process. If you are considering a step-parent adoption, understand that it may not be as complex as you assume. Here are some of the benefits of step-parent adoptions:  

Not All Adoptions Have The Same Legal Requirements

In Virginia, step-parent adoptions have fewer hurdles than some close relative adoptions, agency adoptions or parental placement adoptions. For example, step-parent adoptions begin in the Circuit Court, skipping the hearings and formalities of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Additionally, there’s not a specified time period that the child must have resided with the step-parent who is petitioning for adoption.  This can make the process much simpler and less stressful for everyone involved. 

An Easier Process 

When the adoption is an agency adoption, a parental placement or a close relative adoption, the process is more extensive.  This includes home studies, background checks and, in most cases, starting the process in juvenile court. Step-parent adoptions don’t have the same number of additional requirements. This means, in a step-parent adoption, less people and paperwork are involved, making it simpler and less stressful for you and your child. 


Keep in mind, all adoptions require the consent of both biological parents, or, in the case of a step-parent adoption, consent or a finding by the Court that a biological parent is withholding consent contrary to the best interests of the child. An attorney can be very helpful in this regard.

A Shorter Timeline 

One of the main benefits of step-parent adoptions is that the whole process is much quicker and easier to complete than other adoptions. In most cases, it only takes a few months to be completed. A standard adoption may take up to a year or longer to complete. This makes a step-parent adoption ideal for parents who want to make the process as fast and easy as possible.  

For more information on the Virginia adoption process or assistance in your adoption, contact Norton Pelt today to schedule your consultation.

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Norton Pelt, PLC

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