Adoption transfers parental rights from one parent to another. Most often, the birth parent decides that they cannot care for the child, and they want to find a new home for their child with hopeful parents. In other cases, the state may remove a child from a parent’s home and seek a new parent.
Adoptions can happen when the birth and hopeful parents do not previously know each other, or in related families. The one thing that adoptions have in common is that they are a complex legal process. You will always need the help of an experienced adoption lawyer.
Call Davis Curry Law today to learn how a skilled family lawyer in Hendersonville can help you.
The Different Types of Adoption in North Carolina
There are several types of adoptions in North Carolina:
- Private (independent) adoptions: The birth parent selects the adoptive parents and signs the consent form allowing for the adoption. An adoption lawyer is instrumental in an independent adoption.
- Agency adoptions: A third party matches the birth parent with the adoptive parents and provides support throughout the process.
- Kinship adoptions: A relative will become the legal parent of the child when the biological parents consent to the adoption
Kinship Adoptions Under North Carolina Law
Roughly one in every three adoptions through the foster care system are kinship adoptions. Parents often want to keep the children within their families, so they do not have to give them up to others who they do not know. They may want to be able to continue to see their children and know that they are being cared for by a trusted relative. A parent can elect to place their child with a relative, as opposed to going through an agency. A Henderson relative adoption lawyer at our firm can help navigate this process with you.
North Carolina law allows for certain types of kinship adoption that include:
- Grandparent adoptions: Grandparents (and other types of relatives including a sibling or first cousin) can adopt a child directly. The process will be more streamlined than a “traditional” adoption, not requiring the same level of scrutiny or steps. If the relative does not appear on the permitted list under North Carolina law, they would need to go through the more formalized adoption process.
- Stepparent adoption: A stepparent, who has been married to the biological parent for six months or more, has the ability to adopt a child. The non-custodial parent must consent to this adoption, and they would terminate their parental rights. The adopting stepparent would then assume parental rights for the child. If the child is 12 years of age or older, they would need to agree to the adoption.
The Benefits of Kinship Adoptions
Kinship adoptions provide for many benefits for both the child and the family, including:
- A shorter process
- Less stringent check on the prospective adopting parent(s) — although the court has the discretion to request a home study on the adopting parent
- A sense of stability for the child, who will be with someone who they already know. Kinship adoption can minimize stress and mental health issues for the child
- Preserving the child’s cultural and community identity
- Lower costs than a longer and more formalized adoption process
The North Carolina Adoption Process
The process for adoption in North Carolina is roughly the same, regardless of the type of adoption at issue. The prospective parent(s) would still need to file a petition with the court. Then, the court would review the proposed adoption. The court may request close scrutiny of the adoptive parent(s), including a home visit. If the hopeful parents are going through an agency, they would need to have the home study before they can inquire about adoptions.
North Carolina law requires a minimum 90-day waiting period before the adoption can be processed by the court. Realistically, you can expect that an adoption will take, on average, about six months.
Contact an Adoption Lawyer in Hendersonville, NC Today
The adoption process is, by nature, a legal one. You need to thoroughly understand and follow the requirements in order to be able to adopt. An experienced adoption law attorney can guide you through the process and counsel you on unique issues related to your adoption. Since adoption can be a stressful process, you need a lawyer who responds quickly and listens to you. That is exactly what we do at Davis Curry Law.
To speak with an attorney, you can contact us through our website, or you can call us today at 828-900-2420.
North Carolina Adoption FAQs
Can LGBTQ+ couples legally adopt a child in North Carolina?
Yes. LGBTQ couples can legally adopt, whether they are married or not.
How stringent is the home study process in North Carolina?
In a relative adoption, it depends on the discretion of the court. In other adoptions, you can expect very close scrutiny, including a visit to the actual home, a background check, a mental and physical health study and many other steps.