If you are considering adopting your North Carolina spouse’s child from a previous relationship, this could be one of the best things you will ever do for both the child and yourself. Stepparent adoptions represent a great way to bring a blended family together, plus they give you all the legal rights to the child and access to his or her medical, school and other records that you will need as (s)he grows up.
StepparentAdoption.com explains that you and your spouse should expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $3,500 for a stepparent adoption depending on your specific situation and any complex issues involved. Even if the child’s other biological parent has no problems with the adoption, you nevertheless should hire an attorney to represent you and make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Notifying the other parent
The first thing you will need to do is file a Petition for Stepparent Adoption with the court in the county where you live. This will necessitate a filing fee that should be reasonably nominal. You will then need to officially notify the child’s other biological parent of your petition and give him or her notice of when the adoption hearing will take place.
This is where your attorney can be of particular help, especially if the other parent objects to the adoption or has basically abandoned the child and you do not know where the parent currently lives. If (s)he objects to the adoption, your attorney will represent your interests in court. If (s)he has disappeared, your attorney will know how to best prove to the court that you did everything possible to locate him or her with notification of the adoption proceeding.
Background check and home visit
The court likely will require you to undergo a criminal background check for which you must pay, and may also require you to pay for one or more home visits from a social worker to assess your home and family situation. Ultimately you will need to pay to have the state issue your child a new birth certificate naming you as his or her legal parent. At that point (s)he will be your legal child just as if you had given birth to him or her.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.