Whether you adopt an infant or formalize a stepparent-child relationship, it’s an emotional journey. At Breeden Law Office, we help Garner-area families in Wake and Johnston County grow through the adoption process.
Whatever your reasons for the adoption, it’s a legal process as well as a personal one. You have to follow official rules and procedures. To better understand your rights, options, and the process, we recommend working with a Garner adoption lawyer.
Attorney Jonathan Breeden knows the ins and outs of the North Carolina adoption process and has handled all different scenarios. Schedule an initial adoption consultation online or call (919) 661-4970.
Unless you’ve gone through the adoption process before, you might run into trouble during the adoption process. The rules and timelines don’t always make sense. Before getting frustrating, ask for help.
A Garner adoption lawyer can relieve your stress and anxiety by explaining the process and handling many steps for you. The adoption process you go through can vary depending on your situation.
The basic rules apply to everyone:
Anyone at least 18 years old can adopt someone, excluding spouses from adopting each other. An individual or married couple can adopt, but two unmarried individuals can’t adopt a person together.
If you want to adopt a minor, the child’s biological mother has to agree. The biological or assumed biological father has to agree under certain circumstances, including if he:
If a married couple chooses to adopt, both spouses have to agree to the situation. One spouse can’t adopt a child without the other spouse’s consent.
If you’re adopting a child who is 12 years or older, they also have to agree to the adoption.
You can find more information about adoption in Garner, NC, by visiting:
You can find adoption forms on the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service’s website. You can fill these forms out yourself, but we recommend working with a lawyer. You have to make sure you complete all the necessary forms accurately for a smooth adoption process.
The adoption process isn’t quite the same for everyone. What one adopting parent needs to do might not be the same as another. It helps to have a Garner adoption lawyer help you understand how the law applies to you.
Whatever your situation, it’s good to know the basics.
A closed adoption means the birth parents don’t have a relationship with the child and don’t want them to contact them. There are usually specific exceptions, like for medical emergencies.
In an open adoption, the child can find and contact the birth parents one day. Open arrangements vary from one family to the next. Some birth parents have a life-long relationship with the child, while others are open to a connection in the future.
An independent adoption doesn’t involve an agency. More often than not, individuals who already have a connection with the child go through an independent adoption, including stepparents and other relatives.
Independent adoption isn’t necessarily easier. The adoptive parents still have to follow the law and procedures.
If you’d prefer to have help, there are two types of agency adoptions in North Carolina:
Public Agency: A state-licensed organization that manages the adoption process for children awaiting adoption. The organization usually works with children of all ages, and it might handle foster care placements.
Private Agency: A private business that usually offers counseling and support through the adoption process. These agencies often have strict rules about who can adopt a child. For example, they may require adoptive parents to be married or of a certain age. These agencies are often best for families hoping to adopt an infant or younger child.
Because there are so many types of adoption situations, there are many times when you’d benefit from legal advice.
Now that you know there are many types of adoptions and unique situations, it makes sense that the adoption proceedings can vary. But underneath the layer of differences is one general process.
To prepare for the adoption, you want to lay a strong foundation and paper trail. You’ll need numerous official documents, including:
To make the adoption process official, you file a petition for adoption in the county where you or the adoptive child lives or the adoption agency’s location. For Garner adoptions, you’ll likely file with either the Wake or Johnston County Clerk of Superior Court based on where you live.
To file, you have to provide certain documents, including the:
Anyone required by North Carolina law to consent to the adoption and hasn’t yet must get notice of your adoption petition.
Next, the court sets a hearing date within 90 days. All the adoption proceedings have to move forward within the next six months. If you meet all the legal requirements and no one disagrees with the adoption, you might not have an official hearing.
Adoption hearings are necessary if someone doesn’t agree with the adoption, such as the biological father or another of the child’s relatives. This hearing is like a trial, and you should prepare. It’s up to you to show you meet the legal requirements and the adoption is in the child’s best interests.
North Carolina adoption law and the adoption process can seem simple on the service. But applying the law to your case can create unique situations. By working with a Garner adoption lawyer, you have someone who understands how to apply the law and guide you through the adoption process step by step.
Many adoptive parents try to rely on an agency. We highly recommend hiring a lawyer even if you partner with an experienced public or private agency. The social workers and other professionals there can’t give you legal advice. They also might not have accurate answers to your questions, even with their years of experience.
It’s comforting to have local help when you’re going through the adoption process. At the Breeden Law Office, we take great pride in helping families expand through adoption, and we’re located at 283 D Glen Rd., Garner, NC.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 661-4970