The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
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WE FIGHT TO WIN.

Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.

Adoption

Adoption is always done in the best interest of the child. When you are considering adoption in Mooresville, it is best to seek legal guidance to ensure that the process is completed properly. There are various types of adoptions, including adoption of a newborn, adoption of a relative, and adoption of a stepchild. It may also be necessary in some instances when the child is in need of a better home.

Adoption establishes a permanent legal relationship between the child and the adoptive parent. It also eliminates the prior legal relationship of a biological parent. Once a child is adopted, the adoptive parents are fully responsible for the care and well-being of the child and have the legal ability to make decisions on the child’s behalf, just like a biological parent.

How the Adoption Process Works

Adoption can be a complicated and difficult process. It is necessary to have some patience and get the legal help you need along the way to ensure that the adoption is handled in accordance with the law. The process for adopting a child is outlined specifically in Chapter 48 of the North Carolina Adoption Statutes.

There are a number of documents and details that you must handle before you can file a petition for adoption. First, you must have consent for adoption from the biological parents. This can be one of the first hurdles that you need to cross. An experienced adoption attorney in Mooresville will assist with this step as with the others.

In cases where the child lives with a parent and a stepparent and the stepparent wants to adopt, the child’s non-custodial parent will need to provide legal consent. Every attempt must be made to locate the parent and obtain consent. Your attorney can help with this process. It is important to note that once a parent consents to adoption he or she will no longer be considered legally responsible for the child. Parental rights are thus forfeited and the parent will no longer have visitation rights nor will they be responsible for child support.

Pre-Placement Assessment and Other Requirements

Adoptive parents must go through a pre-placement assessment. A home visit is typically required along with a comprehensive interview. Adoptive parents must be deemed fit to be good parents before placement consideration will be made. The main consideration is for the welfare of the child. A child will not be placed in a home where he or she will not receive the love, attention, and protection that he deserves.

In addition to the pre-placement assessment, you will also need to gather some documentation. You must obtain a certified copy of the child’s background information. This should be as detailed as possible and must contain such things as education, medical and genetic and behavioral histories.

If you are going through an adoption agency, they will provide this information. Otherwise, it must be provided by the biological parents. You will also need to provide a financial affidavit that indicates that you have paid for the costs associated with the adoption.

Petition for Adoption

Once you have everything ready, you are able to file a petition for adoption. If you were unable to obtain a parental consent, you must serve notice of the petition to that person. Your attorney will handle these types of issues. Once your petition is received, you will be notified of a date and time for the adoption hearing.

The court must set a hearing date within 90 days of filing the petition for adoption. The actual hearing could occur up to six months after the petition date. In cases where the petition is unopposed and is straightforward, the court may approve the petition without a hearing. In more complex cases you will be required to attend the hearing.

At the hearing, you and your attorney will need to be prepared to provide evidence that you are a fit parent. The judge will review the information and make a determination that is in the best interest of the child.

Special Circumstances

Some special circumstances are not always clear-cut within the legal adoption process. For instance, same-sex couple adoptions are still evolving. In cases in which the couple wants to adopt a non-biological child there are two main options available including direct placement and agency placement. Direct placement occurs when a biological parent chooses the adoptive parents and provides consent. Agency placement occurs when a child is adopted through an agency. Both types of adoption are best accomplished with legal assistance from a qualified family law attorney in Mooresville.

Adoption is a way to provide a safe, secure and loving home for a child. Make sure that the process is completed legally so that there will be no problems or concerns later. Contact the experienced legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to discuss your adoption plans.