Do both parents need to approve a Virginia stepparent adoption?
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

Do both parents need to approve a Virginia stepparent adoption?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Family Law

Blended families are quite common in Virginia, and they create a host of unique family needs. Concerns about issues ranging from estate planning to financial support can arise when two people who have children from prior relationships combine their families.

A stepparent often plays the same role that a biological or adoptive parent should. They are present on a day-to-day basis for the support of their stepchildren. They provide financial assistance and guidance as the children grow into young adults. Someone who has been a loving stepparent might hope to upgrade to the position of legal parent by adopting their stepchildren.

Does someone’s spouse and the other parent of their stepchildren need to approve of the adoption for it to occur?

Yes, both parents generally need to approve stepparent adoption

A stepparent adoption alters the legal obligations of the adults in a family. Obviously, a stepparent hoping to adopt their stepchild requires the support and consent of their spouse. The parents in a blended family should talk in depth about the implications of a stepparent adoption before attempting to complete this often complex process.

One of the factors they need to consider is the obligation to secure the approval of the other parent. Unless the other parent of the stepchildren has died or the state already terminated their rights, the other parent has to approve of the adoption in writing. That process involves not just agreeing to the adoption but voluntarily ending their parental rights.

Even a parent who has not made use of their shared custody or visitation rights might still want to maintain their status as a lawful parent. In some cases, the possibility of ending financial support obligation could convince the other parents to agree to a stepparent adoption. The easiest path to a successful stepparent adoption typically involves the voluntary consent of the other parent of the children.

Stepparent adoption is only official after the courts approve everything. It can be a long process to complete, but a worthwhile choice for those who have stepped up as stepparents. Learning more about Virginia’s unique approach to stepparent adoption can be helpful for those trying to strengthen their blended families.