Stepparents often have no legal rights or privileges to stepchildren. In some cases, it may be in the child’s best interests for a stepparent to legally adopt his or her stepchild. In North Carolina, a stepparent may adopt a stepchild by following the proper steps.

In order to file a petition to adopt a minor stepchild, you must be married to and live primarily in the same residence as the child for at least six months. You must have the consent of your spouse or the spouse must be incompetent or deceased. According to the North Carolina statutes, adoption of a minor does not change the relationship between the parent you are married to and the child.

If the child is 12 years of age and older, he or she must consent to the adoption. In addition, the stepparent must have permission from both legal parents. If the other parent, unmarried to the stepparent is incompetent or deceased, then the rules of consent do not apply to the other parent. The other guardian must voluntarily consent to the transfer of guardianship. This adoption terminates the legal relationship between a parent that is not the stepparent’s spouse and the child.

The child may not inherit from the other parent, will not have visitation or communication with the adoptee. However, if he or she owed any child support, he or she is still obligated to pay. An authorized individual must accept the consent under oath. While the petition is pending and before entering the decree, a minor may revoke his or her consent.

The above information is not legal advice but for educational purposes only.