Tag: adoptions; clerks of superior court
  • A Minor’s Consent to Adoption: Where and in What Proceeding Is It Waived?

    North Carolina adoption laws are codified in G.S. Chapter 48. I find it to be one of the more difficult Chapters to navigate because it consists of interrelated Articles and Parts. As you get familiar with the Chapter, the procedures and requirements become less challenging to piece together. It is imperative to know these procedures because “the law governing adoptions in North Carolina is wholly statutory.” Boseman v. Jarrell, 364 N.C. 537, 542 (2010).

    Under North Carolina adoption laws, before an adoption of an unemancipated minor may be granted, certain consents must be obtained. See G.S. 48-3-601 through -603. One required consent is from the minor adoptee if they are 12 years old or older. G.S. 48-3-601(1). However, that minor’s consent may be waived when the court issues an order based upon a finding that it is not in the minor’s best interests to require their consent. G.S. 48-3-603(b)(2).

    What court has jurisdiction to enter the order waiving the minor adoptee’s consent?

    The question is circulating due to some recent North Carolina Supreme Court opinions involving appeals of termination of parental rights (TPR) orders. The facts of the opinions indicate the district court in the TPR action waived the juvenile’s consent to the adoption. The issue of whether the district court in a TPR proceeding has subject matter jurisdiction to waive the juvenile’s consent does not appear to have been raised before or decided by the Supreme Court. Instead, the minor’s waiver of consent is discussed by the Supreme Court in its review of the facts when analyzing a challenge to the district court’s determination that the TPR is in the juvenile’s best interests. The factual summaries in the Supreme Court TPR opinions made me sit up in my chair, take notice, and ask the questions in this post. Continue Reading

  • Adoptions and Sperm Donors

    *Note, since this post was published, North Carolina laws on statutory construction were amended. Effective July 12, 2017, the terms “husband and wife” and other terms suggesting a lawful marriage must be construed to include any two individuals who are then lawfully married to each other. See S.L. 2017-102, sec. 35 creating G.S. 12-3(16). This impacts the analysis of G.S. 49A-1, where it does apply to a mother and her spouse. For a further discussion, see New Legislation Acknowledges Same-Sex Marriage, posted by our colleague Cheryl Howell on Aug. 8, 2017.

    Since our blog post, Same-Sex Marriage and Adoptions of a Minor by a Stepparent, we have received several inquiries about the role of a sperm donor in an adoption proceeding. Although General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Resinger, 12 F. Supp. 3d 790 (W.D.N.C. 2014) and Fisher-Borne v. Smith, 14 F.Supp. 3d 695 (M.D.N.C. 2014) held NC’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, they did not specifically address parentage when a child is conceived or born during a same-sex marriage. And, although artificial reproductive technology has advanced in the last 20 years, the laws in NC have not fully addressed these advances and how they impact parentage. Continue Reading

  • Clerks, Adoptions and Division Review (Part I)

    Ask most any clerk of superior court in North Carolina and they will likely tell you that one of the highlights of their job is presiding over the finalization of adoptions.   However, the clerk’s role does not end upon entry of the final decree.  Within 10 days of the entry of the final decree, the clerk must transmit all of the original records filed in connection with the adoption (except the petition and final decree, of which only copies are sent) to the Division of Social Services of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  G.S. 48-9-102(d).  The Division is charged with permanently indexing and filing the papers received from the clerk.  G.S. 48-9-102(e).  Included in these documents is the original Report to Vital Records (DSS Form 1815) signed by the clerk.  Once the Division completes the indexing process, the Division sends the Report to the State Registrar and retains and seals the remaining documents from the adoption file.  G.S. 48-9-102(f).  The Report authorizes the State Registrar to issue a new birth certificate for the adoptive child with the child’s adoptive name and the names of the adoptive parents.

    Continue Reading

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