Anyone who is planning on adopting a baby in Wilmington, North Carolina should be aware that the laws are complex and difficult to navigate. That is why it is important that you seek the help of a lawyer who has already dealt with cases related to adopting a newborn.
If you are contemplating adopting a baby from North Carolina or from out of state, it is important to know if the adoption is legal. Adopting a newborn is an expensive venture, and the last thing you want is to find out after the entire process is complete that the adoption was not legal and that all your time, effort and money were for nothing.
Below, you will find some adoption laws in North Carolina that you should be aware of if you plan on adopting a baby:
Who can adopt a child in Wilmington, North Carolina?
- Any adult can adopt a child
- Stepparent(s) can apply for adoption of their spouse’s child if the following criteria are met:
- The spouse is the legal custodian and has physical custody of the child. In addition, the child must have resided with this spouse and/or the stepparent(s) in the 6 months prior to filing the application.
- The spouse is deemed incompetent, is deceased or is incarcerated permanently. In such scenarios, the spouse must have custody of the child, or the child must have lived with the stepparent in the 6 months prior to filing the adoption application.
- Keep in mind that there is no reason why a stepparent cannot adopt a child, even if the above requirements are not met. The judge will eventually make the decision.
What requirements must one meet when adopting a baby in Wilmington, North Carolina?
Any individual interested in adopting must be at least 18 years of age. They may also be willing to undergo a thorough criminal background check and training to ensure their fitness as a parent.
If anything negative is found in the prospective parent’s history such as domestic violence, child abuse or a criminal record, the chances of adopting a newborn will be much lower. The legal system is very particular about the well-being of children, and that is why the system is designed to prevent anybody from adopting a baby who may not be deemed suitable or who may be considered a risk to the child.
Who pays for the adoption expenses that the birth parents accumulate?
In such cases, under North Carolina law, the would-be adoptee parents can pay the birth parents for the following:
- All pregnancy-related health care bills, including travel to a healthcare facility
- Counseling services
- Living expenses during the pregnancy and for up to 6 weeks after delivery
- Any legal fees associated with the adoption
- Fees to the adoption agency
People adopting a baby must be aware that it is illegal to offer money in exchange for adoption. Therefore, one should not coerce or force the birth parents to give up their child in return for money. This way of adopting a newborn is insensible and illegal.
Who gives the consent when it comes to adopting a newborn?
In Wilmington, North Carolina, the consent for adopting a newborn has to be given by the following individuals:
- The mother of the child
- Any male (whether he is the biological father or not) who is or was married to the child’s mother, is the adoptive father or has acknowledged paternity of the child
- The guardian of the child
If the child is older than 12 years of age, they may also be required to consent to the adoption, unless the court decides that it is not in the best interest of the child. In any case, consent is an important factor when adopting a newborn.
Seek Legal Guidance from a North Carolina Adoption Lawyer
Adopting a baby is a fairly complicated process. Any couple or individual who is interested in adopting a newborn must consult with an adoption lawyer in Wilmington, North Carolina to ensure they follow all the proper procedures. The process of adopting a baby can be much easier if all legal requirements are adhered to and if the court is provided with all the required documents. At the Speaks Law Firm, our legal team is here to help ensure you meet all legal requirements and you file your adoption papers in a timely manner so you can expand your family as soon as possible. Our Wilmington family law attorneys are ready and able to help. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss adopting a newborn in North Carolina.