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Same-sex stepparent adoption in Virginia: Overcoming challenges

Adopting children can be challenging under the simplest circumstances. For same-sex couples, there may be additional concerns to be aware of.

Although marriage equality is recognized in all 50 states, same-sex couples may still face some discrimination in the courts. This has the potential to complicate many already complex matters, such as stepparent adoption in Virginia. Here is some background information on the subject as it pertains to same-sex marriage.

Secure your legal rights

Virginia law does not have any explicit terms about stepparent adoption. Although children usually regard the spouses of their biological or legal parents as father or mother figures, the law does not share that viewpoint. State law grants specific rights to legal parents, and court action may be necessary to bestow those rights. 

What this means for same-sex couples is that the biological or legal parent may have to apply for adoption jointly with a spouse. Even in biological parenthood situations, such as those involving reproductive technology assistance, it could be advisable for the parent who gave birth to the child to file for adoption jointly with the parent who did not.

Safeguard your family’s future

There are various benefits to stepparent adoption. Chief among them is the continuation of care: Should the biological parent pass away or become incapacitated, there would already be a legal parent available to ensure a healthy life and positive decision-making for the child.

Adoption may also secure the non-biological parent’s claim to custody in the case of divorce. Without a legal claim for custody by both parties, courts may be relegated to agreements that do not necessarily benefit the best interests of the child as much as they could. In this respect, stepparent adoption may be a good idea for those who have children from previous marriages or relationships.

Regardless of the circumstances, parents often have a goal of establishing a long-term, sustainable home situation for the child. Adoption could help parents reach this goal under Virginia law.

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