Stepparent Adoptions vs. Second Parent Adoptions

Posted by Regina Taylor | Mar 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Are you looking to become the legal parent of your partner's child? North Carolina law has provisions for many different types of couples who want to adopt a child, whether or not they're genetically related to the child. However, unlike many other states, North Carolina does not allow couples to adopt children if they are not married. For that reason, step parent adoptions are possible in North Carolina while second parent adoptions are not. Let's take a look at the difference.

Second Parent Adoptions

Let's say an unmarried couple has a child together. If only one member of that couple is the child's legal parent, either through adoption or biological relation, the other member might apply to become a legal parent as well. This process is called a second parent adoption or co-parent adoption, and it's meant to give the child two legal parents who are in a committed relationship together. Second parent adoptions are generally used for unmarried couples.

Stepparent Adoptions

Stepparent adoptions are similar to second parent adoptions in many ways. They still involve couples with one legal parent and another person who wishes to become a legal parent, but they are reserved specifically for married couples, and are the only of these two options possible in North Carolina. If the second biological parent of the child is still living, he or she must waive their parental rights in order for a stepparent to be able to adopt the child. 

Stepparent adoptions don't have to fulfill the home study requirement. In North Carolina, the home study requirement refers to the process that the Probate Court uses for any other adoption petition. According to this process, a North-Carolina-licensed home study provider must conduct a “home study” to evaluate the petitioner's situation and make sure the adoption is in the child's best interests.

When it comes to stepparent adoptions, the home study requirement is waived, meaning you won't have to submit to an investigation unless the court finds a good reason for it. This advantage can be especially helpful to same-sex married couples.

Stepparent adoptions can be a great step forward for many families, giving children the benefit of two active and involved parents who can seek medical care for them, attend their school meetings, make emergency decisions for them, and give them an automatic right to inherit if a parent should pass away. If you're interested in seeking out these benefits, it's imperative that you ask a reliable family attorney for assistance. At N.C. Adoption Law Center, we strive to bring families closer together with exceptional legal counsel. Give us a call for qualified help with your adoption petition. We will make sure the process goes smoothly and maximize your chances of success.

About the Author

Regina Taylor

I decided become a lawyer when I was in the fourth grade when I saw a lawyer on television.


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