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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Can a Virginia Adoption be Reversed?


It may surprise you to learn that there are some situations where a finalized adoption can be reserved. After it’s finalized, if one party wants to initiate the reversal, he or she would need to submit a petition to the family court. This is most commonly done by either the child’s birth parents or the child’s adoptive parents. If the court does opt to reverse the adoption, the child’s birth certificate will be changed to reflect what it said prior to the adoption.

Adoptions are complex, and reversals are even more complex. It’s important to retain a Leesburg adoption attorney if you have questions or need assistance with reversing an adoption. 

Who can Initiate a Virginia Adoption Reversal Request? 

Only certain parties can initiate the reversal process. These include:

  • The child’s birth parents: If a child’s birth parents are interested in regaining their parental rights and reversing an adoption, the adoptive parents would need to consent to the reversal. There are some states where even if the adoptive parents give their consent, the birth parents will not get their parental rights back.
  • The child: There are several scenarios where a child may be the one who wants the adoption reversed. One of the more common reasons is the relationship with the adoptive parents is breaking down or has failed completely. Another reason a child may initiate reversal proceedings is when he or she wants to be emancipated from the adoptive parents.
  • Child’s adoptive parents: It’s rare that the adoptive parents would want to reverse an adoption, but it does happen on occasion. According to an article in The Atlantic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the United States estimates that anywhere between one and five percent of the 135,000 annual finalized adoptions are reversed or dissolved.

Revoking Consent in a Virginia Adoption

Before an adoption is finalized, consent can be revoked. An adoption cannot be finalized unless there is clear consent. Some situations allow for consent to be revoked, even if it’s been finalized. These include:

Child’s best interests: The court has the authority to revoke the adoption if they determine it’s in the best interest of the child.

Fraud or duress: In a situation where adoption consent was obtained through fraudulent means, or the person giving the consent was under duress, then the consent will be deemed void.

Refusal timeframe: A child’s birth parents have a small period of time before the adoption is final in order to change their minds.

Contact a Virginia Adoption Attorney Today

You should not attempt to go through an adoption without legal assistance, as there is the risk of too many things going wrong — including the birth parents wanting to reverse the adoption. Working with a skilled Virginia adoption attorney can help ensure all legal elements are met and reduce the risk of the birth parents changing their mind during or after the process. If you have questions or are facing a situation involving an adoption reversal, contact the skilled team of attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today to schedule a consultation.




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