Raleigh Adoption Attorney
Nothing is more joyous and rewarding than opening your heart and home to an adopted child. However, going through the adoption process in North Carolina can be complex and stressful. If you are considering a private adoption of a relative, step-child or a child that you have come to know through an adoption service, you will need help from a knowledgeable family law attorney.
At Kurtz & Blum, our lawyers have experience with contested and uncontested adoptions, step-parent adoptions, relative adoptions and surrogacy agreements. We work with parents in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you to add to your family’s joy.
Surrogacy in North Carolina
With today’s medical innovations, people who are unable to or who do not wish to personally conceive have many medical options available to them. North Carolina lacks clear laws for several of these situations, including surrogate mothers. Working with an experienced attorney from the very beginning of a surrogacy agreement will be critical in order to protect you and to achieve your goals.
North Carolina Adoption Laws
Many people fail to realize that they have only a limited time to prepare the notices and file the petition once a child has been placed in their care for a non-step-parent adoption. Also, a couple must be married for a certain period of time before a step-parent adoption can occur. North Carolina law also controls what kinds of payments are allowed in connection with an adoption. The goal is to protect adoptive parents from being taken advantage of by people who are basically trying to “sell” babies.
Who Can Adopt?
Even though the North Carolina adoption process is complex, the basic eligibility requirements are relatively straightforward. Any adult — 18 years of age or older — may be eligible to adopt a child in North Carolina. You do not have to be married to adopt. Also, you do not need to meet a minimum income threshold. Still, not every applicant gets approved for adoption. Depending on the circumstances, gaining approval can be highly challenging. For instance, all prospective adoptive parents must submit to a background check and complete a home study.
What Is an Adoption Home Study?
A home study is a key part of the adoption process. Before parents can be approved, they must demonstrate that they can provide a safe, healthy and stable environment for a child. Generally, an adoption home study involves a North Carolina social worker being assigned to a case and conducting an in-depth assessment of the home of the applicant. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that the prospective adoptive parents are living in an appropriate environment for a child.
Adoption home studies can be stressful and intimidating. However, preparation with an attorney can make the process go much easier. If you have any questions or concerns about your adoption home study, an experienced Raleigh adoption lawyer can help you to prepare and understand what you should expect.
How the Adoption Process Works.
Prospective parents have several different options available for adopting a child in North Carolina. For example, adoptive parents could choose to adopt a child independently, completing the process through an adoption lawyer. Alternatively, they could work with a private adoption agency that is trusted and well-suited for their needs. In other cases, parents may want to adopt a child out of North Carolina’s foster care system.
It is important to find the right process for your family. The path you choose will have significant implications for how the adoption proceeds. In order to obtain a final decree of adoption, you will need to meet several requirements as part of that process in addition to the home study.
First, the rights of the child’s biological parents must be terminated. In most adoption cases, this involves the parents voluntarily consenting to the termination of their rights or having their rights terminated by a court. In step-parent adoptions and relative adoptions, the termination of parental rights can quickly become complicated. The adoption process often involves children who are in foster care.
Once all of the application requirements have been met, an adoption can be finalized. Several documents must be completed and filed like the adoption petition, placement agreement and communication agreement. During this time, new parents should receive copies of all of the child’s vital records. Finally, a post-placement assessment will be conducted. Assuming no issues surface, a North Carolina court will issue the final decree of adoption.
How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child in North Carolina?
A frustrating aspect of adopting a child in North Carolina is playing the waiting game. How long your adoption takes will depend on a number of different factors. For the most part, North Carolina adoptions are finalized within 18 months. In some cases, an adoption can be finalized in just a few months.
An adoption home study is valid for up to 18 months. So, if your adoption is not finalized before your home study expires, you will likely be required to update your home study. In some cases, an adoption lawyer may be able to help to expedite the process. Still, it will always depend on the specific circumstances.
Closed vs. Open Adoptions
A closed adoption is one in which prospective parents put their names on a list and adopt a child — usually an infant or a toddler — without actually learning the identity of the birth parents. In contrast, an open adoption is one in which the prospective adoptive parents have access to information about the child’s biological parents. Indeed, with an open adoption, the adoptive parents may have the opportunity to meet with one or both of the child’s biological parents, and they could even decide to stay in contact with each other.
Generally, most domestic adoptions are open adoptions. Many international adoptions are still closed adoptions. If you have specific questions about closed adoptions versus open adoptions, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Raleigh adoption lawyer at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, for immediate assistance.
Contact Our Raleigh Adoption Lawyers
Complications can arise during stages of the adoption process. One of the key benefits of working with an experienced Raleigh adoption lawyer at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, is that we can help you to overcome the hurdles standing between you and finalizing the adoption. Issues can arise in a number of different ways — from a biological father or biological mother remerging and attempting to reassert parental rights and stop the adoption to potential legal challenges with your home study or your background paperwork.
Whatever issues arise, we will protect your rights and help you to find solutions. Whether you are considering a step-parent adoption, grandparent adoption, a closed adoption, an open adoption, an independent adoption or an agency adoption, we want to help you. Call or reach us online today to discuss your case.