The Detriment Requirement

Published On: February 9, 2018

The Detriment Requirement

When Section 63.2-1205 was enacted in 1995, it included language requiring the trial court to consider whether failure to grant the Petition for Adoption would be detrimental to the child.  In 2006, the General Assembly removed this language from the statute, and substituted for it the requirement that the court determine whether consent is withheld contrary to the best interests of the child.

In the case appealed from in Copeland v. Todd, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court must “consider whether a continuing relationship between Todd and the child would be detrimental to the child’s welfare.”  But the Supreme Court pointed out that the eight standards of proof were not changed, and concluded that the concept of detriment is included within the eight standards, and within the meaning of best interests as used in the statute, and that therefore it is not required to prove detriment to the child as a separate requirement in addition to the eight listed factors.

See also Grant v. Jones, Court of Appeals Record Number 1888-16-2 (2017) for the same proposition.

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