Stepparent Custody Rights in North Carolina

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Stepparents often form close bonds with their stepchildren and treat them as their own. If you are a stepparent who is now going through a divorce, you may be wondering if you have the right to seek custody or visitation of your stepchild.

In North Carolina, you must adopt your stepchild to ensure you have custody or visitation rights. Since stepparent custody rights are complicated in North Carolina, it is in your best interest to consult a stepparent custody rights lawyer at Breeden Law Office if you would like custody or visitation of your stepchild.

Call us at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation with North Carolina child custody lawyer Jonathan Breeden.

Who is Awarded Custody in North Carolina?

North Carolina awards custody to an individual that will best promote the interest and welfare of a child. This means that when awarding custody, a North Carolina court will be primarily concerned with what will actually benefit a child rather than what will benefit their parents, stepparents, grandparents, or other family members. Custody will typically be awarded to whoever can provide the child with a stable living environment and best care for their medical, emotional, academic, and social needs.

Do Stepparents Have Custody & Visitation Rights in North Carolina?

A divorce or unexpected death can create a lot of uncertainty for stepparents who have worked hard to be a key part in a child’s life. While everyone should acknowledge the integral relationships in a blended family, is a step parent want to seek custody and visitation rights, they may be in for a difficult legal battle.

Stepparent custody and visitation rights vary considerably by state. For instance, in North Carolina unless you have adopted your stepchild, you do not have custody and visitation rights if you divorce their biological parents. In most cases, custody of a child will always be awarded to their biological parent or blood relative rather than to a stepparent or another unrelated individual. However in certain situations, you may be able to request visitation.

Without legally adopting your stepchild, you cannot make decisions regarding their education, medical care, religion, or other important issues in their life. However, as a stepparent, you may influence the court’s decision about who gets custody of your stepchild if you supply evidence that demonstrates that a biological parent or blood relative should not be granted custody. For example, if the child’s biological parent or another blood relative abuses the child or is unable to provide them with a safe and healthy life, the court may grant you custody.

Whether pursuing custody or visitation, it is vital that stepparents consult a an experienced lawyer in their area who is familiar North Carolina’s custody laws and how they may work in their favor. In addition, while it may be challenging to secure legal custody as a stepparent in NC without an adoption, you may want to request visitation to maintain a meaningful relationship. Am attorney will be helpful in either situation.

NC Step Parent Adoption

Adopting a stepchild forms a permanent, legal relationship, with all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent. This includes custody and visitation rights, as well as financial support obligations. However, formally adopting a stepchild is complicated and not always appropriate.
A stepparent adoption severs the legal relationship between a child and their noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent is an able and willing parent to their children, pursuing stepparent adoption will be very complicated.

To be eligible for a stepparent adoption in North Carolina:

  • You must be married to one of the child’s biological parents
  • You must have lived in North Carolina for at least six months
  • The child must consent if he or she is 12 years old or older
  • You must live with your spouse and the child
  • You may be subjected to a home evaluation in some cases

Adopting a Stepchild

To adopt your step child in North Carolina, you must file a petition with the court, which includes a consent form from the child’s other biological parent.

Under North Carolina law if a child’s other biological parent is still alive, they must either consent to the adoption or have their rights terminated by the court.

If everyone consents to the adoption, the court might approve the paperwork after a 90-day minimum waiting period. If the other biological parent objects to the adoption, a hearing will be scheduled.

After the hearing, the court will either approve or deny the adoption. If the adoption is approved, the court will issue an adoption decree, which will finalize the process and legally name you as their adoptive parent.

How a Stepparent Custody Rights Lawyer Can Help

If you have not adopted your stepchild, it can be a challenge to gain custodial or visitation rights. Fortunately, Jonathan Breeden, an experienced stepparent custody rights lawyer at Breeden Law Office can help. He will evaluate your situation and may be able to help you submit a case to the court and prove why you deserve custody of your stepchildren.

If there is a valid case for you obtaining custody, attorney Breeden can also assist you in proving that you have a parent-like relationship with your stepchild or the biological parent of your stepchild should not receive custody because they are abusive, neglectful, or unfit.

To establish that you have a parent-like relationship with your stepchild, he will use facts to show that you have assumed parental duties for your step child and are emotionally attached to them. These facts may be that you drive them to school, teach them, provide them with necessities, and are involved in their medical care.

In order to demonstrate that the biological parent of your stepchild should not receive custody, attorney Jonathan Breeden may discuss how the parent is unable to provide their child with a safe home, has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or issues with emotional stability.

Contact Breeden Law Office Today

To increase your chances of achieving custody or visitation of your stepchild, you should call Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 today. Stepparent custody rights attorney, Jonathan Breeden will be happy to provide you with a confidential case consultation and inform you of your legal options.

Begin your fight for what’s right and call us today or contact us online.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

Call (919) 661-4970

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