If your ex-spouse has remarried, six months may be the trigger for eliminating your parental rights if you fail to exercise visitation. Virginia’s adoption laws generally require consent by both parents before a step-parent can adopt stepchildren. However, there is an exception to the consent rule in Virginia Code Section 63.2-1202, the Exceptions to the Parental Consent Adoption laws, which permits a custodial parent to file for adoption of a minor child without the noncustodial parent’s consent if that parent has not seen nor contacted their child in over six months without just cause. For example, if a parent is deployed on a military assignment, then they have just cause why they have not visited their child. If the parent is incarcerated, they have just cause. However, if a parent has moved to a different city or state or just remains in the area but does not contact or see their child for over six months, the custodial parent and her new spouse may file under that statute to seek to adopt the child, eliminating all parental rights for the non-custodial, non-visiting parent. The triggering factor is no contact for the six months or more before the filing of the adoption action. The custodial parent must serve the noncustodial so they have an opportunity to be heard, but if the custodial parent was not kept informed of the noncustodial whereabouts, then service can be obtained by publication. Service by publication means a small advertisement in the Legal Notices section of the newspaper. To avoid losing your parental rights, it is best to never let months pass without visitation.