Fredericksburg, Virginia Adoption Lawyers Manage Legal Aspects
Determined to help families achieve their goals
Adopting a child brings happiness to families, but a biological parent’s change of heart or an immigration setback can turn a joyous occasion into a stressful ordeal. Simmons and Hodge, PLC handles the complex legal procedures and frustrating red tape of the adoption process so you can focus on your new family member.
We help clients with the following areas of adoption:
- Termination of parental rights
- Paternity registry
- Open adoptions
- Closed adoptions
- Private adoptions
- Agency adoptions
- Domestic adoptions
- International adoptions and re-adoptions
- Step-parent adoptions
- Close family member adoptions
- Adult adoptions
Termination of parental rights
Stories abound about birth parents challenging an adoption after it is finalized. These well-publicized news accounts reflect a real fear for adoptive parents. The suffering associated with a badly-handled adoption affects everybody involved — the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the children who are caught in the middle. We ensure that both the birth and adoptive parents’ rights are respected so that the end result is a final adoption that cannot be challenged. The birth parents must consent to the adoption freely and voluntarily to avoid claims of fraud, duress and coercion that can be grounds for restoring a birth parent’s rights.
The biological father has the same rights as the biological mother in deciding whether to voluntarily terminate parental rights. Virginia laws seek to balance the father’s rights with the well-being of the child through a paternity registry. The process prevents the unsettling disruption of a child’s life caused by a father’s parental claims after the adoption’s finalization. A man who knows or believes he is the father of a child can apply to the putative father registry to receive notices of judicial proceedings related to the child, including those associated with the adoption process. Our attorneys take all necessary steps to confirm that the father provides consent or that no father is registered with the database.
Types of adoption
An open adoption agreement permits the biological family to maintain a relationship with the child. The terms of the agreement are established by written contract and can include any level of involvement ranging from regular visits to yearly snapshots exchanged by mail. A closed adoption protects the identity of the biological parents and the child, but may include disclosure of essential information such as the child’s heritage and medical history. Whichever type of adoption you choose, we meticulously draft a contract that reflects the terms of your adoption.
International adoptions present unique challenges. Also called inter-country adoptions, the process involves a complex web of laws and policies, including Virginia, U.S., U.S. immigration, the child’s country of birth and the Hague Adoption Convention. Our attorneys aggressively work to speed up the process and overcome any obstacles. Our goal is to help you bring your child home as soon as legally possible.