An Adoption is a legal proceeding creating a parental relationship between the adoptee and the petitioner. The petitioner is the person requesting the adoption. The adoptee is the person being adopted. When the adoption is finalized, an adoptee has the same legal status and rights as a natural born child.
A married couple or an individual may adopt. If the adoption request is made by a married person, a joint petition with their spouse must be filed. If only one spouse wishes to file for an adoption, a motion must be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court. The request to permit only one spouse to file for an adoption will only be granted upon a showing of good cause.
Either a child or adult can be adopted. Spouses are not permitted to adopt each other. For an adult adoption, consent must be given by the person being adopted. A child over the age of 12 must give their consent to be adopted. A motion to waive this requirement is required to be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court. Good cause must be shown for this requirement to be waived. For the purposes of adoption, an adult is an individual over the age of 18, a married person under 18 years of age or a minor who has been legally emancipated.
There are several types of adoptions. An agency is when an agency such as the county Department of Social Services or a licensed child placement agency places a child and consents to their adoption. An independent adoption is when a parent or guardian places a child and consents to their adoption. A relative one is when a parent or guardian places and consents by a family member such as a grandparent or other relative. A stepparent adoption is when a stepparent wants to adopt their stepchild. An adult adoption is when an adult wants to adopt another adult.
The legal process begins with the filing of a petition. The petition is filed in the Special Proceedings Division of the Clerk of Superior Court. The Petition to Adopt must be filed in the county where either the petitioner or adoptee lives. An agency must be filed in the county where the agency has its office. In some cases, a home study may be required. The purpose of a home study is to determine if the persons seeking to adopt are suitable parents. A hearing is not required when the adoptee is under 18. A hearing is required in adult adoptions. When the adoption is finalized, the decree is signed by the Clerk of Superior Court. The signed decree is sent to the NC Department of Health and Human Services. The NC Department of Health and Human Services will contact the adoptive parents on how to obtain a new birth certificate for the adoptee. If you are thinking of adopting, please contact the Law Office of Stephen Robertson. Our skilled and experienced attorneys will guide you through the process.