Raleigh Stepparent Adoption Lawyers
Experienced Adoption Attorneys Guiding You Through the Adoption of Your Child
Herring Mills & Kratt, PLLC, in Raleigh, is widely known and respected for our adoption services. Our adoption group consists of two attorneys with more than 25 years of experience, both of whom are board certified specialists in family law and co-directors of the licensed North Carolina adoption agency, A Child’s Hope. Additionally, as an adoptive mother herself, Parker Herring bring personal experience to the adoption process.
Relative, Stepparent and Grandparent Adoptions
The adoption group at Herring Mills & Kratt, PLLC, can help you with all of your relative, stepparent, and grandparent adoption needs. More frequently, stepparents in second marriages are recognizing the financial, legal, and emotional importance of adopting stepchildren in order to become a cohesive family unit. Grandparent adoptions are also increasing as 1) grandparents fight for rights to provide for the care and support of grandchildren from their own children’s divorces, and 2) the adoption of grandchildren provides financial support and health insurance otherwise unavailable to grandparent caretakers.
Adoptions are positive experiences for both the parents and the children. In situations where the adoption is contested, however, our Raleigh stepparent adoption lawyers will assert our clients’ interests and fight for the termination of parental rights as the situation requires.
Learn more at our adoption practice information center.
Contact Our Adoption Law Firm
Our adoption law group believes in providing a safe and loving environment for children. We are committed to strengthening the bond among families through the adoption process.
Contact the adoption law firm of Herring Mills & Kratt, PLLC to meet with Parker Herring or Bobby Mills about your stepparent adoption or surrogacy needs.
We also have the experience to assist clients with open and closed interstate adoptions, as well as interstate adoptions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Stepparent and Relative Adoptions
The following are common questions about stepparent and relative adoptions. Because the circumstances of your adoption may be unique, this summary cannot address the issues presented by every case and is not intended to provide legal advice. Please ask us if you have other questions after reviewing the following.
- Do I need a home study?
A home study, sometimes called a preplacement assessment, is generally required unless you are closely related to the child. A home study is not required in stepparent adoptions. It is also not required in certain relative adoptions. It is not required when a parent or guardian places a minor directly with a grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, or great-grandparent of the minor child.
- How long do we have to be married?
You must have been married for at least six months before your spouse can petition to adopt your child(ren). Any period of time you lived together before marriage does not count.
- Do we have to go to court?
- Does the other parent have to consent?
In a stepparent adoption, the adoptive parent’s spouse and the other biological parent must consent to the adoption. If the child is over the age of twelve (12), the child must also consent.
In a relative adoption, except under certain unique situations, the mother must consent to the adoption. If the child is over the age of twelve (12), the child must also consent. Depending on the circumstances, the father of the child may or may not have to consent.
- Does the other parent have to consent if he or she is not involved?
There is a difference between custody and parental rights. Even a parent that is not involved in his/her child’s life has legal rights with regard to a child, including right to notice of a pending adoption. The procedure in dealing with the absent parent will vary depending upon the specific circumstances of the case.
- What if I do not know where the other parent is?
If the whereabouts of the parent are unknown we must make a diligent effort to ascertain his/her whereabouts and provide him/her with notice. Due diligence requires us to search all public records and to use our best efforts to find him or her. If, after the exercise of due diligence, the location cannot be determined, we may serve notice of the pending adoption by publication. If the identity of the father is unknown, service of the notice must be by publication. Where we publish notice depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
- What if the other parent owes child support?
Once an adoption decree is entered, the former parent whose rights were terminated will no longer owe a duty of support. However, that parent remains responsible for unpaid amounts that are due at the time of the order. The remaining unpaid amounts may be forgiven at the election of the parent who is owed support.
- What if the other parent will not consent?
Every potential father has the right to receive notice that a child that he may have fathered is going to be placed for adoption. Notice means just that. He is provided notice that he has been named as a possible father and that the mother intends to place or has placed the child for adoption. Unlike a husband or legal father, an unwed biological father’s right to receive notice does not mean that his consent is required in order for the adoption to proceed. A man who fathers a child out of wedlock must take affirmative steps to show his commitment to establishing a parent-child relationship before the law recognizes his right to prevent an adoption by withholding his consent.
If a husband or legal father opposes the proposed adoption of his child, a court must terminate his parental rights before an adoption may proceed.