Payne & Associates, PLLC

I'll admit it.  I love being a family law attorney.  I love representing people and helping them navigate through the most difficult times of their lives.  The way I see it, most people who are unfamiliar with the litigation process become quickly overwhelmed by having to become adversarial with their former spouses or partners about the two things that matter the most to them: kids and money.  

Not all of our clients come to us with help in difficult situations, though.  Some of my favorite clients to work with are folks who need help navigating the adoption process.  Adoptions always give us the chance to work with families who are created not just out of relations by blood or marriage, but out of love.  We work with many step-parents who have decided to recognize that their step-children hold a place in their lives that deserves to be recognized as a legal relationship. That's something I can get behind!

There are important considerations when you are thinking about filing for a step-parent adoption.  In particular, I'll highlight three considerations below which will effect most step-parent adoptions. But first, what does an adoption do?  Sure, we all know that it makes step-mom or step-dad just "mom" or "dad".  What are the legal implications of this, though? 

A successful step-parent adoption will completely sever the legal relationship between the non-spouse biological parent and his or her child (we call the child the "adoptee" in these proceedings) going forward.  The statutes in North Carolina refer to this as a "substition of families". It means that the non-spouse biological parent is relieved of all of his rights and/or obligations for the child.  However, that doesn't include past-due child support arrears!  It also means that the child is entited to inherit by and through the adoptive parent.

So, what types of issues should you think about before filing your step-parent adoption?  Here are three that we see come up often.

1. Consent by the child

Is the child that you want to adopt twelve years old or older?

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
Winston Salem Law Office Map