Williams Law Group handles stepparent, private placement, foreign re-adoptions and adult adoptions in North Carolina.
Adoptions, in general, are a rather “paper-intensive” endeavor. In North Carolina, prospective adoptive parents will need to produce their marriage certificate and a copy of the birth certificate for the child(ren) at issue. Most adoptions will involve filing of a pre-placement assessment, petition to adopt, consent forms, a home study and other accompanying documents. The exact forms to be filed will vary depending on the type of adoption pursued.
When considering adoption it is important to first determine whether or not a pre-placement assessment is necessary. North Carolina law requires this assessment prior to the child being “placed” for adoption. It can be obtained from the local department of social services for a fee which may be in excess of $1,000.00. Some adoptions do not require this assessment. Therefore, it is important to both discuss and resolve this issue in advance of filing a petition.
An adoption of a minor child can proceed more quickly when the biological parents consent to the adoption. Their consent can substantially shorten the period of time needed to finalize the adoption. If one or both biological parents fail to consent to the adoption, it may be necessary to first file an action to terminate their parental rights prior to filing the petition to adopt. The circumstances of the case will determine both whether this action will be necessary and whether this action will be successful.
If the adoptive parent is the stepparent of the minor child, the process for adoption alters slightly. Again, it is important to determine whether the other biological parent consents to the adoption of the minor child by their stepparent. The length of time the minor child has resided with the adoptive stepparent determines whether or not a home study will be required for the adoption.
An adult adoption differs from that of minor children. The adult to be adopted must formally consent to their adoption. If the adoptive parents have other adult children, those children will have to be given formal notice of the adoption. These adoptions do not require a pre-placement assessments or a home study.
How much will the adoption cost?
In most adoption cases, it is necessary to have both a pre-placement assessment and a home study performed. In general, North Carolina law requires that the pre-placement assessment be completed prior to placement of the child with the adoptive parents and thus prior to filing the adoption petition. The pre-placement assessment is valid for 18 months and must be updated thereafter. The home study is performed near the end of the adoption process.
Adoptive parents do not have to wait to employ an attorney to begin the pre-placement assessment process. In most cases it is very helpful to have started or completed that process in advance of hiring counsel to file the adoption petition. The agencies that perform these tasks, including county departments of social services, charge a separate fee for both procedures. The total cost for both the assessment and the study can range from $1,000.00 – $1,500.00 and must be paid directly to the agency performing the assessment/study.
Our Cary, NC firm generally charges by the hour for work performed on each adoption and will require a trust deposit. The initial deposit with the firm will depend on the type of adoption and other facts of the particular case.
If you are considering adoption, please call our Cary, NC office to schedule a time to meet with a NC Certified Family Law Specialist to discuss the specifics of your case.