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Who can adopt and be adopted in North Carolina?

Many North Carolina residents have dreamed of having a family of their own since they were young. While some individuals do this through the process of biological birth, there are others ways to create a family. One such method is through the legal adoption process. There may be a myriad of reasons people may turn to adoption, including the inability to conceive a child, wanting a legally recognized parental relationship to a child in one's custody, or simply wanting to help an already existing child find a forever home.

Adoption is a big step in anyone's life, and the state of North Carolina has a few requirements for eligibility to adopt. First, the adopting parent must be at least 18 years old. If married, a couple can file a petition together, but being married is not a prerequisite to adoption. If a single person wishes to adopt, however, his or her name is the only one that will be on the adoption petition. The prospective parent must also have resided in North Carolina for six months prior to the adoption petition, though this may be waived for adoptions through certain state-licensed agencies.

In North Carolina anyone, child or adult, might be eligible for adoption. However, spouses cannot adopt each other, and anyone over the age of 12 must give consent to the adoption. Further, the potential adoptee must have resided in the state for six months, though, again, this requirement can be waived in certain situations.

When applying for adoption through an agency, there will usually be a pre-placement assessment done by the agency to ensure that prospective parents are educated about the requirements and responsibilities that follow the adoption of a child. We may discuss this in more detail in future posts. Also, the above only covers the very basic eligibility requirements for adoption. There is still the matter of filing a petition with an adoption court and going through the legal process. Those considering adoption may want to consider seeking further information from an experienced North Carolina adoption attorney.

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