Practice Area: Family Law

Adoption

In North Carolina, there are a number of avenues for parents who wish to start or expand their family through adoption and also for mothers who are deciding whether to place their child up for adoption. Additionally, there are situations where an adult adoption might be appropriate. Our adoption attorney can represent either the adoptive parent(s) or the birth parent(s) through the complexities of the adoption process to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Independent Adoptions: Independent adoptions are sometimes called private adoptions. These adoptions are done without the assistance of an adoption agency. In such an adoption, the adoptive parents locate a child who is available for adoption either within North Carolina or in another state. Consents of the birth parents must be taken and the adoptive parents are required to undergo a home study and postplacement visits.

Stepparent Adoptions: A stepparent adoption occurs when the spouse of the parent with legal and physical custody of a child seeks to become a legal parent of the child. The child must have resided primarily with the parent and the stepparent during the six months prior to the filing of the petition. If the stepparent and legal parent have been married for at least two years a home study is not required, but postplacement visits will be. As with independent adoptions, consent is still required by the noncustodial parent unless there has been a termination of parental rights.

Relative Adoptions: A relative adoption is one where the adoptive parents seek to adopt a child to whom they are related—typically a sibling, niece, or grandchild. In a relative adoption, the same requirements apply as for independent adoptions.

Adult adoptions: While adult adoptions are rare, it might be appropriate where adoption was not available when the child was a minor due to consent issues, for example. Adult adoptions make it possible for an adoptee to inherit and also may make it easier for an adopting parent to obtain guardianship in the event of an illness or death. Unlike in the adoption of a minor, there is a hearing requirement for adult adoptions.

LGBT Adoption: With the legalization of gay marriage, the adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples is now possible. The same processes as in the preceding paragraphs will apply.

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