What should you consider legally before adopting?

Every state has different adoption laws, and North Carolina is no exception. Adding a child to a family is a big decision and it is important that you go into the process knowing what to expect. Whether you are the traditional family, a same-sex couple or grandparents trying to adopt a grandchild, there are different guidelines for each situation.

FindLaw points out that although spouses cannot adopt each other, any person can be adopted with their consent. If the child is older than 12, then it is required that they give consent to be adopted. Anyone over 18 years old can adopt, and in most cases spouses adopt jointly. However, if one spouse gives consent, it is possible for the other spouse to adopt on their own. Unmarried people may also file for adoption.

To adopt in the state, you must have lived within state limits for at least 90 days. North Carolina’s laws are unique in that they allow for adult adoption, which may benefit same sex couples. If you are in this situation, you could use the adoption path to obtain benefits and inheritance rights that are only given to family members.

Families can also choose between closed and open adoptions. Closed adoptions occur when the birth parents do not want the child to know who they are or to find them later in life. Even in these cases, it may be necessary to obtain certain information for things like organ compatibility, genetic disorders and other medical conditions.

Open adoptions occur when both the birth parents and the adoptive parents want the child to be able to communicate with the birth parents. This communication may be done through the parents originally, but once the child is old enough, they may make their own choices about meeting their birth parents.