This is an exciting time. After you met your spouse, he or she introduced you to their children, making you a part of their children’s lives. Now, through adoption, you can officially blend your two families together and make the bond that has developed between you permanent. At Conrad Trosch and Kemmy, our family lawyers have decades of experience with step-parent adoptions. Let us guide you through the process, making your happy day as stress-free as possible.
Under North Carolina law, a stepparent may petition the court to adopt his or her spouse’s child if:
- The spouse has legal and physical custody of the child, and the child has lived primarily with the parent and stepparent for the six-months preceding the petition;
- The spouse, is deceased (or incompetent) but, before dying, had legal and physical custody of the child, and the child has lived primarily with the stepparent for the six-months preceding the petition; or
- For cause, in the court’s discretion, even if the stepparent does not meet one of the two requirements above.
Therefore, if your family situation meets one of the above criteria, then you may petition the court for a step-parent adoption. The petition, which will be filed with the court, includes information such as the date of your marriage, the length of time you and your spouse have had legal custody of the adoptee, and verification that the adoptee has lived with you and your spouse during the six months immediately preceding the petition.
Being able to follow this legal process, though, is not the only important consideration when deciding whether to pursue a step-parent adoption. Perhaps the most important aspect to remember about step-parent adoptions is that all parties must cooperate and consent, or the adoption will not be accepted by the court.
Under North Carolina law, you must get consent from:
- The parent who is the stepparent’s spouse;
- If the adoptee is a minor, from the stepchild’s parent who is not the stepparent’s spouse; and
- The person who is being adopted.
This means that, if any of the parties to the adoption do not consent, then the adoption petition will likely not be accepted by the court.
To understand more about the complicated legal process of step parent adoption, and to have any of your other questions answered, it is important that you contact a North Carolina law firm with an experienced family law practice. At Conrad Trosch and Kemmy, which has now operated in North Carolina for fifty years, our team of experienced family lawyers can handle your adoption effectively and efficiently so that you can enjoy your new family as soon as possible.