There are many different circumstances where parents may not be able to provide proper care for their children. Sometimes, the best option for the parent and the child is to place the child with a relative, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, adult sibling, or a cousin. Even great grandparents are raising children.
Unfortunately, far too many relatives are raising children without the legal authority that they need to make decisions and protect children from harmful disruptions in their living situations. When caregivers don’t have proper legal authority, parents can remove children from the security of the only home they know.
Life can be complicated. Let us help sort out the legal issues, while you concentrate on taking care of the child. An experienced lawyer can help you through the process, so that you can provide the protection and care that the child needs. Adoption is different from custody. Custody is always temporary and can be changed. Adoption is permanent and provides security.
Contact an experienced lawyer about your options. It is especially important to have expert legal advices if the child has been the subject of court proceedings in the past.
Relative Adoption Requirements
Like any other legal procedure, adoptions can be complicated. Adopting a child who is related to you is just like adopting any other child, except you may not be required to have a home study first. If your biological relationship to the child is close enough, a home study may not be necessary. In North Carolina, a home study is not required if you are the child’s:
- Full or half sibling
- First cousin
- Aunt or uncle
- Great-aunt or great-uncle
If you are a stepparent, visit our stepparent page for more information.
Benefits of a Relative Adoption
Like any other adoption, the adopting relatives will gain full parental rights for the child they adopt. Some of the benefits include:
- Making medical decisions for the child in their best interest
- Ensuring inheritance benefits for the child
- Making educational decisions for the child
- Protecting your relationship from being disrupted
Even if you are already living with the child and helping with their care, formalizing that relationship through the adoption process will make sure you are able to protect the child and act in their best interest going forward.
How an Attorney Can Help
Even though the relative adoption process in North Carolina is more streamlined than a traditional adoption, it’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side to help with the process, which includes:
- Ensuring that your situation qualifies for relative adoption
- Obtaining consent from the biological parents, or seeking termination of their parental rights in court
- Filing the proper paperwork with the court
- Determining whether you need a home study and guiding you through the process
- Addressing any previous court proceedings
- Obtaining any financial assistance
- Finalizing the adoption process in court
Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience in North Carolina adoption law and can help you navigate the process of relative adoptions. Call us today at 919-306-2899 to set up a consultation and to get your questions answered!