As a gay married couple can we adopt a child? As a single gay person can I adopt a child? Can I adopt my partner’s child when we are not married? If we are married, how do I establish my parental rights to my spouse’s child?
Married Couples Can Adopt Jointly
Since 2014, gay partners have been allowed to marry in North Carolina and North Carolina recognizes marriages granted in other states. That means gay couples can adopt jointly in North Carolina.
In North Carolina, gay couples in North Carolina can adopt children through the same processes, with the same requirements, as a heterosexual couple.
Stepparent Adoption Process
If your spouse has a biological child, your marriage does not grant you parental rights to your spouse’s child. Adoption as a stepparent is the best option for couples where one spouse is a parent and they want the other spouse to have the same parental rights to the child. Creating a legal relationship establishes enforceable parental rights for the stepparent. It also protects the child’s right to a relationship with the stepparent in the event of a divorce or the death of the other biological parent.
When a child has not been adopted by a stepparent, the stepparent has only very limited legal authority. As stepparent may not have the right to custody or visitation in the event of a divorce. The child has no protection from being taken away form the stepparent if the biological parent dies or is unable to perform their parental duties due to illness.
North Carolina law requires that a couple be married for at least six months prior to the adoption before you can adopt your stepchild. If you lived together prior to getting married, that time will not count towards this requirement. There are exceptions to this rule.
After filing the petition for adoption, you will go through the process of home (or post-placement) visits, a criminal background check, and if the child is over the age of 12, the child must consent to the adoption.
The adoption process is complex and can vary depending on your situation. It’s critical to have an experienced adoption attorney on your side to help you navigate the process.
Second Parent Adoption by Unmarried Individuals
Second-parent adoption is not available in North Carolina. A single person cannot adopt another person’s child without terminating that person’s parental rights. Two single individuals cannot adopt a child together in North Carolina.
Adoption by Single Individuals
Single individuals are permitted to adopt in North Carolina. Single individuals are subject to the same requirements as married couples.
North Carolina Gay Adoption Help
Bobby Mills has over 30 years experience in adoptions in North Carolina, and can help you with your adoption. If you are a member of a non-traditional family and wish to adopt your partner’s child or have your partner adopt your child, please call us today at 919-306-2899 to set up a consultation.