Fraud Blocker

How Familial Relationships Are Impacted by the Virginia Adoption Process

Last month, we discussed why Virginia stepparents should consider formalizing their parental rights through the adoption process. Doing so eliminates legal barriers and protects your parental rights should your marriage falter.

Adoption impacts more than just the adopting parent(s) and their children, however. Familial relationships with both the “former” family members who have had their rights terminated and with the “new” adoptive family go through changes. We want to explore this topic further so your family is prepared for what comes after a Virginia adoption is finalized.

Relationship with Parents Whose Rights Are Terminated

Any parent who has their parental rights terminated loses all formalized contact with their child. They no longer have a responsibility to provide for the child, but they also no longer get assumed custodial or visitation rights.

In order for a parent who has had their parental rights terminated to continue contact with the child, the parents who have assumed parental rights either through adoption or birth would need to voluntarily allow contact. This allows the child to maintain a distant relationship with a biological parent, but it’s uncommon. The courts need a good reason to terminate parental rights. If a parent has a strong and healthy relationship with their child, it’s unlikely it would ever get to the point of termination in Virginia.

Relationship with the Grandparents on the Side of the Terminated Parent

Much the same as above, grandparents on the side of the family member who had their parental rights terminated also lose any assumed rights and responsibilities. We previously explained that Virginia grandparents do not have assumed custody or visitation rights but can petition for those rights as a “person with a legitimate interest.”

Exceptions to this include if the grandparent is the one adopting the child or if the new family believes maintaining a relationship with grandparents on this side of the family is beneficial to the child.

Relationship with the Grandparents on the Side of the Adopting Parent

Adopting a child in Virginia provides all the same parental rights and responsibilities as being the biological parent does. This means the parents of an adopting adult now become persons “with a legitimate interest” under Virginia Code § 20-124.1.

This allows adoptive grandparents to petition for visitation and custodial rights of their new grandchildren if desired. The courts will consider the circumstances, including an ongoing or prior relationship with the child, before granting these rights. Because of this, it can make it more difficult for adoptive grandparents to be granted any of these rights unless the child’s parents wish it so.

Speak with a Virginia Adoption Attorney

Our team understands the needs of Virginia families. These families take many forms, and we respect the family unit however it takes shape. If you are considering adoption or need help petitioning for your rights as a parent or grandparent in Virginia, contact Rinehart Bryant.

The following two tabs change content below.

Rinehart Bryant, PLLC

If you are looking for a family law firm to help you through your Virginia divorce who actually cares about you, we promise that you won’t find a better home than Rinehart Bryant, PLLC.

Latest posts by Rinehart Bryant, PLLC (see all)