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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 48 - 22 - 701 PART 7. PROCEDURES FOR ADOPTION.
§48-22-701. Proceedings.
(a) When the cause has matured for hearing but not sooner than six months after the child has resided continuously in the home of the petitioner or petitioners, the court shall decree the adoption if:

(1) It determines that no person retains parental rights in such child except the petitioner and the petitioner's spouse, or the joint petitioners;

(2) That all applicable provisions of this article have been complied with;

(3) That the petitioner is, or the petitioners are, fit persons to adopt the child; and

(4) That it is in the best interests of the child to order such adoption.

(b) The court or judge thereof may adjourn the hearing of such petition or the examination of the parties in interest from time to time, as the nature of the case may require. Between the time of the filing of the petition for adoption and the hearing thereon, the court or judge thereof shall, unless the court or judge otherwise directs, cause a discreet inquiry to be made to determine whether such child is a proper subject for adoption and whether the home of the petitioner or petitioners is a suitable home for such child. Any such inquiry, if directed, shall be made by any suitable and discreet person not related to either the persons previously entitled to parental rights or the adoptive parents, or by an agency designated by the court, or judge thereof, and the results thereof shall be submitted to the court or judge thereof prior to or upon the hearing on the petition and shall be filed with the records of the proceeding and become a part thereof. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) A description of the family members, including medical and employment histories;

(2) A physical description of the home and surroundings;

(3) A description of the adjustment of the child and family;

(4) Personal references; and

(5) Other information deemed necessary by the court, which may include a criminal background investigation.

(c) If it shall be necessary, under the provisions of this article, that a discreet and suitable person shall be appointed to act as the next friend of the child sought to be adopted, then and in that case the court or judge thereof shall order a notice of the petition and of the time and place when and where the appointment of next friend will be made, to be published as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county where such court is located. At the time and place so named and upon due proof of the publication of such notice, the court or judge thereof shall make such appointment, and shall thereupon assign a day for the hearing of such petition and the examination of the parties interested.

(d) Upon the day so assigned, the court or judge thereof shall proceed to a final hearing of the petition and examination of the parties in interest, under oath, and of such other witnesses as the court or judge thereof may deem necessary to develop fully the standing of the petitioners and their responsibility, and the status of the child sought to be adopted; and if the court or judge thereof shall be of the opinion from the testimony that the facts stated in the petition are true, and if upon examination the court or judge thereof is satisfied that the petitioner is, or the petitioners are, of good moral character, and of respectable standing in the community, and are able properly to maintain and educate the child sought to be adopted, and that the best interests of the child would be promoted by such adoption, then and in such case the court or judge thereof shall make an order reciting the facts proved and the name by which the child shall thereafter be known, and declaring and adjudging that from the date of such order, the rights, duties, privileges and relations, theretofore existing between the child and those persons previously entitled to parental rights, shall be in all respects at an end, and that the rights, duties, privileges and relations between the child and his or her parent or parents by adoption shall thenceforth in all respects be the same, including the rights of inheritance, as if the child had been born to such adopting parent or parents in lawful wedlock, except only as otherwise provided in this article: Provided, That no such order shall disclose the names or addresses of those persons previously entitled to parental rights.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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