Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
Chapter 12. Adoption
8/20/2017

§ 63.2-1241. Adoption of child by spouse of birth or adoptive parent.

A. In cases in which the spouse of a birth parent or parent by adoption who is not the birth parent of a child wishes to adopt the child, the birth parent and his spouse may file a petition for adoption in the circuit court of the county or city where the birth parent and his spouse reside or the county or city where the child resides. The petition shall be the joint petition of the birth parent and his spouse but the birth parent shall unite in the petition for the purpose of indicating consent to the prayer thereof only. The petition shall also state whether the petitioners seek to change the name of the child.

B. The court may order the proposed adoption and change of name without referring the matter to the local director if (i) the birth parent or parent by adoption, other than the birth parent or parent by adoption joining in the petition for adoption, is deceased; (ii) the birth parent or parent by adoption, other than the birth parent or parent by adoption joining in the petition for adoption, consents to the adoption in writing and under oath; (iii) the acknowledged, adjudicated, presumed, or putative father denies paternity of the child; (iv) the birth mother swears under oath and in writing that the identity of the father is not reasonably ascertainable; (v) the child is the result of surrogacy and the birth parent, other than the birth parent joining in the petition, consents to the adoption in writing; (vi) the parent by adoption joining in the petition was not married at the time the child was adopted; or (vii) the child is 14 years of age or older and has lived in the home of the person desiring to adopt the child for at least five years. However, if the court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered, the court shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

C. If an acknowledged, adjudicated, presumed, or putative birth parent or parent by adoption of a child refuses to consent to the adoption of a child by the spouse of the other birth parent or parent by adoption of the child, the court shall determine whether consent to the adoption is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child. If the court determines that consent to the adoption is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, the court may order the adoption and change of name without referring the matter to the local director. However, if the court in its discretion determines that there should be an investigation before a final order of adoption is entered, the circuit court shall refer the matter to the local director for an investigation and report to be completed within such time as the circuit court designates. The order of reference may include a requirement that the local director investigate factors relevant to determining whether consent of a birth parent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child, including factors set forth in § 63.2-1205. If an investigation is ordered, the circuit court shall forward a copy of the petition and all exhibits thereto to the local director and the provisions of § 63.2-1208 shall apply.

D. In any case involving adoption of a child by a stepparent pursuant to this section, the court may waive appointment of a guardian ad litem for the child.

Code 1950, § 63-356.1; 1950, p. 626; 1956, c. 300; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-231; 1974, c. 421; 1975, c. 364; 1977, c. 526; 1979, c. 339; 1986, cc. 481, 482; 1987, c. 482; 1992, c. 607; 1995, cc. 772, 826; 2000, c. 830, § 63.1-219.48; 2002, c. 747; 2006, cc. 825, 848; 2007, cc. 606, 623; 2010, c. 306; 2012, c. 424.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.