Charlotte Adoption Attorneys
Helping bring families together in North Carolina
Adopting a child is one of the most exciting times in a family’s life. It can also be one of the most stressful. Even in the easiest adoption situations, the courts require prospective parents meet certain requirements, as well as complete and file a huge amount of paperwork to finalize an adoption. And, if the birth parent objects to an adoption, the process can become quite complex.
If you are interested in a Charlotte private adoption, the family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC provide experienced representation. Our lawyers understand how to work with the family court system, and can guide you through the process, ensuring paperwork is filed correctly, and standing by your side – working in the best interests of your family.
What types of adoption are available in Charlotte?
North Carolina adoption law, in a nutshell, allows persons over the age of 18 to become a parent of another person (except a spouse). After an adoption is finalized, an adopted child has the same rights and privileges as a biological child. Adoptive parents are responsible for providing for the child, and also have legal parental rights.
The courts allow several different types of adoption, and each requires you follow a different type of process.
A private adoption is typically done through an agency. These types of adoptions can get complex, but an adoption attorney can help navigate you through the process. Private adoptions are often “closed,” meaning that neither the adoptive parents nor the child will know the identity of the biological parents.
Private adoptions are often done through agencies, with the help of a lawyer. Private adoptions are often closed, meaning that neither the adoptive parents nor the child are permitted to know the identities of the child’s biological parents.
Open adoptions, on the other hand, are those where the biological parents’ identities remain known. This happens under many different circumstances; for example, in relative adoptions, where the adoptive family knows the mother and mutually agrees to adopt and raise the child.
Sometimes a relative like an aunt or uncle may want to adopt their relative. These circumstances frequently occur when the child’s parents are no longer able to or no longer want to care for the child. The biological parents may be unfit due to drug abuse, incarceration or institutionalization. In cases like these a close relative may file for adoption.
One of the most common types of adoption, stepparent adoptions occurs when one spouse wants to adopt the other’s child. These may involve termination of parental rights on one party’s behalf. Your Charlotte adoption attorney can explain this to you in more detail.
Under certain circumstances, a grandparent may want to adopt their grandchild. For example, a parent may be unable to take care of their child due to their young age or lack of resources. The biological parent may also be unfit or unavailable, allowing the grandparent to file for legal adoption.
Also called “second parent” adoption, same-sex adoption law continues to evolve, even after the federal legalization of gay marriage in 2015. Typically, however, a same-sex couple would go through the same steps as other couples. If one spouse wants to adopt the other’s child, they may file for stepparent adoption. If the couple wants to adopt a child to whom neither is related, they’d do a joint adoption.
Working with family law attorneys experienced with same-sex couple adoption can help you work through the process more smoothly and with the understanding you deserve.
How does the adoption process work?
Under North Carolina G.S. Chapter 48, the adoption process begins when you file a petition for adoption. Once you file, all relevant parties must be notified and either accept or contest your petition. If they contest it, you’ll likely attend a hearing.
Filing a petition for adoption can include the following paperwork (although every situation is unique):
- Consent to adoption by the biological parents
- Pre-placement assessment
- Affidavit of any fees and expenses paid
- Certified copies of background information regarding the adoptee, including health and genetic history, social history and educational history.
- Current court orders or pleadings specifying the adoptee’s custody or visitation
- Affidavit from the adoptee’s biological mother containing the names, marital status and address of the biological parents
- Order terminating the rights of the biological parents
The courts always work in the best interests of the child, whether it’s a private or agency adoption. Our Charlotte adoption attorneys can explain the ins and outs of the specific laws and help you navigate through the process from initial filing to finalization of the adoption.
What happens after I file for adoption in Charlotte?
North Carolina law requires that the court schedule a date for an adoption hearing within 90 days after you file your petition. However, if all parties consent to the adoption, and your petition is uncontested, a hearing may not be necessary. Our experienced lawyers can talk to you about your particular circumstances, and help you strengthen your case should a hearing be required.
In a successful adoption hearing, the court must find the following:
- The adoption is in the child’s best interest
- The prospective parents are suitable for the adoption
- The adoption’s procedure and requirements were fulfilled correctly
Once the court enters the adoption decree, the child then has the same rights as any other biological child of the adoptive parents, and the biological parents’ rights are severed. (This doesn’t apply to the biological spouse in the case of stepparent adoption, of course.)
Our attorneys can work with you in all types of adoptions. Charlotte family law matters are dealt with through Mecklenburg County Court, located at 832 East 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202.
Compassionate and thorough Charlotte adoption attorneys
Here at Epperson Law Group, PLLC, we can help you with all aspects of adoption and family law. Our lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of families across the state, and are happy to talk to you about your needs. Let us know how we can help you. Our offices are just minutes off the NC-16. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.