Legal Residency of Military Personnel and Spouses in Adoptions

April 13, 2011 in Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Virginia Family Law Lawyers

Adoption is a wonderful expression of love and support for a child in a family. Most states, including Virginia, require people wanting to adopt a child to be residents of the state where the adoption will be legally finalized. Military personnel and their spouses may not be legal residents of the state where they live if they are just stationed there and have not established residency otherwise.

Under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), as amended in 2009 by the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (“MSRRA”), military personnel and their spouses do not lose their legal residency in a state “[f]or the purposes of voting for any Federal office . . . or a State or local office” solely by reason of being absent from the state where they were residents because of the servicemember’s military or naval orders. (50 U.S. Code Appendix §595) Likewise, SCRA, as amended by MSRRA, allows servicemembers and their spouses to retain their legal residency for tax purposes. Unless residency is established otherwise (for example, by purchasing real property, obtaining drivers licenses, registering motor vehicles, etc.) just being stationed somewhere under military or naval orders may not make military personnel or their spouses residents of the state where they live.

We recently represented a young couple who wanted the husband who is enlisted in the U.S. Navy to adopt the wife’s child. The couple lived on a naval base outside Virginia but had not established residency there otherwise. The base legal services office told them they would need the stepfather to adopt the child where they were legal residents—here in Virginia. We were honored to represent them as they sought to make their family legally what it already was in every other important way.

MartinWren, P.C. attorney Lewis A. Martin, III  practices real property law and estate administration law in the firm’s Charlottesville office.  For more information regarding property foreclosures and other real estate issues, please call Lewis at 434-817-3100 or email him at [email protected].  With offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, Virginia, MartinWren, P.C. is a dynamic law firm offering legal services to individuals and small and large businesses across the Commonwealth.  MartinWren, P.C. represents clients in diverse practice areas: Business, Corporate & Tax LawEstate Planning & AdministrationPersonal InjuryIntellectual Property and Technology Law; Healthcare Law; Commercial & Residential Real EstateCivil and Commercial Litigation; Startups and Emerging Companies; Family Law & Adoption; and Nonprofit Organization Law.  To learn more about MartinWren, please visit

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