West Virginia Adoption Laws You Should Know
In the U.S., states are responsible for regulating their own adoption laws, meaning West Virginia’s adoption laws may be different from any of the surrounding states. Families that are adopting across state lines might want to familiarize themselves with the adoption laws in each state to better prepare themselves for the journey ahead.
Below is an overview of adoption laws in West Virginia and how they may affect your adoption. However, keep in mind that this article does not constitute legal advice and does not take the place of a licensed attorney. If you have specific questions about the adoption laws in West Virginia and how they will apply to your individual situation, contact a local adoption attorney or an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Who can Adopt in West Virginia?
Any married or unmarried person may petition to adopt in West Virginia. There are currently no West Virginia adoption laws specifying a minimum age to adopt. If you are married, you must either adopt jointly or with the consent of your spouse. There are no laws restricting same-sex couples from adopting.
Potential adoptive parents must complete an adoption home study, which includes criminal background checks, interviews, home visits and more. They must also have a stable and secure income, be in good health, and have the ability to care for a child.
In addition to meeting all legal requirements set forth by the state of West Virginia, potential adoptive parents must also meet the requirements set forth by their chosen adoption agency. These may include age restrictions, marriage requirements or others.
Requirements to adopt will vary depending on the type of adoption the prospective parents choose to pursue.
Who can be Adopted in West Virginia?
Minor children may be adopted after their biological parents’ legal parental rights have been terminated.
Parental rights may be voluntarily terminated 72 hours or more after the birth of the child; this termination is irrevocable upon signing. A birth father’s rights may be terminated at any point during the pregnancy or within six months of the child’s birth.
Termination of parental rights and consents to the adoption must be completed in writing. Potential birth parents must be represented by legal counsel separate from that of the prospective adoptive parents and must be fully informed about the adoption process before signing.
Adults and children age 12 or older may be adopted with their consent.
Adoption Advertising Laws in West Virginia
There are no West Virginia adoption laws regulating the use of advertisement in adoption.
West Virginia does, however, have strict laws regarding adoption facilitators due to their predatory practices. The law prohibits any person or entity to receive payment for locating a child for adoption.
West Virginia Adoption Laws Regarding Birth Parent Expenses
State laws allow most pregnancy- and adoption-related expenses to be paid by the prospective adoptive parents. This includes:
Any other fees approved by the court
Other pregnancy, birth and adoption-related expenses are allowed and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The adoption laws in West Virginia can be complicated, and how they will affect your process varies on a case-by-case basis. However, you don’t have to navigate West Virginia adoption laws on your own; your adoption specialist and a trusted adoption attorney will be with you every step of the way to ensure your adoption process is completed legally.
Remember, while this article is a good place to start when learning about some of the basic adoption laws in West Virginia, it’s always a good idea to direct any questions you have to your adoption attorney. For more information about adoption laws in West Virginia or to start your process today, contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online.
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