Sometimes, prospective adopting parents come to us, explaining, “I want my fiancé to adopt my son or daughter.”
While being engaged is certainly a sign of your fiancé’s commitment to you and your child, it is only the first step toward actually providing your fiancé legal parental rights to your son or daughter. In the eyes of North Carolina law, an engagement to be married has no legal standing as a familial relationship. Before you begin your fiancé’s adoption of your child, you will actually need to follow through on your engagement and officially be married.
At the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC, we understand that prospective adopting parents will ask, “How can my fiancé adopt my daughter or son?” in order to learn more about the process before starting. If this is your situation, you can call our attorneys at 919-821-1860, upon which they will explain the different steps required for your fiancé to adopt your child so you can prepare for this process in the future.
Keep reading to learn more about what steps to take if you would like your fiancé to adopt your child.
How Can My Fiancé Adopt My Son or Daughter?
It’s a common question: “How do you go about having your fiancé adopt your child, or adopting a child that is your fiancé’s?”
Some states in the U.S. allow for this kind of adoption (known as a “second-parent” or “co-parent adoption”), but North Carolina does not. In practice, if you wish for your fiancé to adopt your child before you are married, the only way to do so would be by surrendering your own parental rights — which is obviously not a solution for engaged couples about to embark on a life together.
Simply put, there is only one way that your fiancé can adopt your child: you must be married first. North Carolina adoption law does not allow for unmarried couples to adopt, no matter their personal history or the amount of time the child has been living with the fiancé and their legal parent.
However, asking the question, “How can my fiancé adopt my daughter or son?” is not a non-starter, even with the somewhat disappointing answer it gives. In fact, asking this question is a wonderful first step, as it shows that you and your fiancé are both ready for the challenges and rewards of legally establishing your blended family. It will also help you prepare for the requirements of the stepparent adoption process ahead of time.
Requirements for Adopting a Child that is Your Fiancé’s — and Vice Versa
But what exactly are the requirements you’ll need to meet for your new husband or wife to adopt your child after you are married?
Even though you and your fiancé aren’t yet married and, therefore, cannot start the stepparent adoption process, it’s still beneficial to learn more about this legal process for when you do decide to begin it later on.
First off, know that being married in itself is not enough to eventually have your fiancé adopt your child. There are a few more requirements that you’ll need to meet:
- Being married for at least six months, with the child residing with both of you for that time
- Obtaining consent to terminate parental rights from the child’s noncustodial parent
- Obtaining consent from the child if they are 12 years of age or older
- Background checks for the adopting parent
- Post-placement assessments, if not waived by your local court
- Providing certified copies of the child’s birth certificate and the adopting parent’s birth certificate, as well as a certified copy of any marriage certificate
While these are the general requirements for a stepparent adoption, each stepparent adoption is different — and only an experienced adoption attorney can explain exactly what your personal adoption process may look like. Some of these requirements may be waived by your local court, while others may be more complicated to complete, especially when it comes to relationships with your child’s noncustodial parent.
In regards to that requirement, it’s important to know that in order for your fiancé to establish parental rights to your child, your child’s noncustodial parent must lose their own parental rights. If your child’s other parent is still involved in their life, you may need to have a serious conversation with them and your child to determine what is best for all involved moving forward. Remember, North Carolina adoption law requires that your child’s other parent give consent for your fiancé to adopt your child after you get married.
Learn More about Stepparent Adoptions in N.C. Today
A stepparent adoption is an important legal step to unifying a blended family. If you’re considering this kind of adoption even before you and your fiancé are married, it’s a wonderful indicator of your commitment to each other and the new family you will create.
To ensure that you are ready for the day when your fiancé eventually adopts your child, please contact the adoption attorneys at Parker Herring Law Group PLLC today. Even if you are not yet married but thinking, “I want my fiancé to adopt my son or daughter,” our attorneys can help you prepare for when you do choose to begin your stepparent adoption process. To learn more today, please call 919-821-1860.