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Adoption Choices

Charlottesville Adoption Lawyer

Mary Ann Barnes, An Experienced Virginia Family Law Attorney with offices in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Lake Monticello

My goal is to help produce positive outcomes without wasting time or adding to the financial burden of our clients.

Frequently asked questions about Virginia family law:

Do I need an attorney for a family law proceeding?

Although it is possible to represent yourself in family court, it is not advisable in the vast majority of cases. Should you choose to represent yourself, the court cannot assist you with your case. You are held to the same requirements as the other party’s attorney. If you mishandle your case due to lack of knowledge or skill, an attorney may have difficulty reversing your mistakes.

What are the most common types of adoption?

  • Domestic Adoption: adoptions that take place in the United States;
  • International Adoption: adoptions by Americans of non-American children from another country. These adoptions can be the most complex, as adoptive parents will have to comply with the legal requirements of not just the child’s birth country, but also of the US government and their state of residence before the adoption can be completed;
  • Stepparent Adoption: the most common type of adoption in which an adult married to the biological or adoptive parent of the child adopts the child to create a parent-child relationship;
  • Open Adoption: an adoption in which the parties agree to some level of contact with birth parents after an adoption’s completed. In some states, like Virginia, it is not possible to make any agreement for such post adoption contact legally enforceable;
  • Closed Adoption: traditional form of adoption in which the adoptive parents do not meet with the birth parent(s) and no identifying or other contact information is exchanged, although medical histories may be made enforceable; and
  • Adult Adoption: the adoption of an adult 18 years or older. More common in a foster family relationship where the child may not have been available to adopt until after his or her 18th birthday. Adult adoptions are easier procedurally to complete than child adoptions, with shorter waiting periods and less state requirements (such as home studies.) The biological parents are not required to consent to the adoption.

Gay Marriage – What about the kids?

A day we hoped would come, FINALLY came.  On October 6, 2014 with the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari, same sex couples could marry.  I, along with many others, made a bee line to the court house that day to witness friends tie the knot and to witness history.  It was a great day.  Now that the initial joy and shock are over, couples are asking “What about the kids?”

In the past, it has been a mixed bag of tricks that same sex couples utilized to gain some semblance of family in the community.  From a legal standpoint, it was like hitting a moving target.  Dealing with education issues, medical care and even family interactions required drafting documents that traditional couples never had to even think about.  According to my reading of the Virginia Code, those days are over.

 If your spouse has a child, natural or adopted, you are now eligible to adopt as a step parent.  If you and your spouse wish to pursue an international adoption, when you return with your child to the states, both of you can readopt as a married couple.  If you wish to pursue an interstate, parental placement or agency placement adoption, they can all be accomplished the same as a traditional married couple. 

 Tucker Griffin Barnes congratulates all those couples that have tied the knot, urges them to dump the “bag of tricks” we previously drafted and welcomes them back to pursue traditional adoptions!  Yeah!!

What is your fee structure?

I handle cases on a flat fee or hourly basis. At the end of the consultation, we can determine the appropriate fee structure for your case, and you can evaluate our services and decide if you want to hire me.

Tucker Griffin Barnes continues to grow our family law practice thanks to the many referrals we receive from satisfied clients, therapists, and other attorneys. If you are struggling with divorce, child custody, or any other family legal matter, please call or email us to learn about your legal rights and how we can help.

Tucker Griffin Barnes PC – Where deep insight equals powerful advantage.


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