When people decide to adopt their stepchildren, they need to follow the procedures laid out by the state of North Carolina. Adopting a stepchild is in some ways similar to other kinds of adoptions. However, there are a few notable differences and people need to make sure they follow all the requirements.
When people adopt a child, they usually need to undergo a home study. According to the North Carolina Judicial Branch, this step may not be necessary when people adopt their stepchildren. This is because the children have already resided with their stepparent for at least six months and the stepparent has already acted in a parental capacity. Additionally, people may not need to attend a hearing about the adoption decree.
After a stepparent adoption, stepchildren have to obtain new birth certificates. They usually receive these at the end of the adoption process. As with other adoptions, people usually need to apply for these documents and pay a fee. These new certificates list the stepparent as a legal parent. If the children changed their last name, the birth certificates record their new legal names.
Stepparents have to provide documentation specific to their situation. According to the Children’s Bureau, people may need documents showing that everyone consents to the adoption. People may need statements from each of their stepchildren. Additionally, they need a statement from the children’s noncustodial parent. This statement demonstrates that the parent understands that he or she will lose parental rights once the adoption is official.
In addition to these documents, people need to submit other forms to their local court. Stepparents may need to provide a copy of their marriage license, as well as copies of their stepchildren’s birth certificates.
People may want to review the North Carolina adoption process as soon as they decide to adopt their stepchildren. This can help them understand which steps they will need to follow.