North Carolina Statutes

Chapter 48 Adoptions

Article -

Article 1 - General Provisions.

  • § 48-1-100   Legislative findings and intent; construction of Chapter
    (a) The General Assembly finds that it is in the public interest to establish a clear judicial process for adoptions, to promote the integrity and...
  • § 48-1-101   Definitions
    In this Chapter, the following definitions apply: (1) "Adoptee" means an individual who is adopted, is placed for adoption, or is the subject of a...
  • § 48-1-102   Parent includes adoptive parent
    As used in this Article, the term "parent" includes one who has become a parent by adoption. (1949, c. 300; 1953, c. 880; 1957, c....
  • § 48-1-103   Who may adopt
    Any adult may adopt another individual as provided in this Chapter, but spouses may not adopt each other. (1949, c. 300; 1963, c. 699; 1967,...
  • § 48-1-104   Who may be adopted
    Any individual may be adopted as provided in this Chapter. (1949, c. 300; 1957, c. 778, s. 2; 1967, c. 880, ss. 2, 3; 1969,...
  • § 48-1-105   Name of adoptee after adoption
    When a decree of adoption becomes final, the name of the adoptee shall become the name designated in the decree. (1949, c. 300; 1951, c....
  • § 48-1-106   Legal effect of decree of adoption
    (a) A decree of adoption effects a complete substitution of families for all legal purposes after the entry of the decree. (b) A decree of...
  • § 48-1-107   Other rights of adoptee
    A decree of adoption does not divest any vested property interest owned by the adoptee immediately prior to the decree of adoption including any public...
  • § 48-1-108   Adoptees subject to Indian Child Welfare Act
    If the individual is an Indian child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901, et seq., then the provisions of that...
  • § 48-1-109   Which agencies may prepare assessments and reports to the court
    (a) Except as authorized in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, only a county department of social services in this State or an agency...

Article 2 - General Adoption Procedure.

  • § 48-2-100   Jurisdiction
    (a) Adoption shall be by a special proceeding before the clerk of superior court. (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, jurisdiction...
  • § 48-2-101   Venue
    A petition for adoption may be filed with the clerk of the superior court in the county in which: (1) A petitioner lives, or is...
  • § 48-2-102   Transfer, stay, or dismissal
    (a) If the court, on its own motion or on motion of a party, finds in the interest of justice that the matter should be...
  • § 48-2-201   Appointment of attorney or guardian ad litem
    (a) The court may appoint an attorney to represent a parent or alleged parent who is unknown or whose whereabouts are unknown and who has...
  • § 48-2-202   No right to jury
    All proceedings under this Chapter must be heard by the court without a jury. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • § 48-2-203   Confidentiality of proceedings under Chapter
    A judicial hearing in any proceeding pursuant to this Chapter shall be held in closed court. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • § 48-2-204   Death of a joint petitioner pending final decree
    When spouses have petitioned jointly to adopt and one spouse dies before entry of a final decree, the adoption may nevertheless proceed in the names...
  • § 48-2-205   Recognition of adoption decrees from other jurisdictions
    A final adoption decree issued by any other state must be recognized in this State. Where a child has been previously adopted in a foreign...
  • § 48-2-206   Prebirth determination of right to consent
    (a) At any time after six months from the date of conception as reasonably determined by a physician, the biological mother, agency, or adoptive parents...
  • § 48-2-207   Necessity of consent post-petition
    (a) If any individual described in G.S. 48‑2‑401(c)(3) is served with notice of the filing of the petition in accordance with G.S. 48‑2‑402 and fails...
  • § 48-2-301   Petition for adoption; who may file
    (a) A prospective adoptive parent may file a petition for adoption pursuant to Article 3 of this Chapter only if a minor has been placed...
  • § 48-2-302   Time for filing petition
    (a) Except for petitions filed pursuant to Articles 4 and 6 of this Chapter, a petition for adoption must be filed no later than 30...
  • § 48-2-303   Caption of petition for adoption
    The caption of the petition shall be substantially as follows: STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA IN THE DISTRICT COURT ____________________ COUNTY BEFORE THE CLERK _________________________ *(Full...
  • § 48-2-304   Petition for adoption; content
    (a) The original petition for adoption must be signed and verified by each petitioner, and the original and two exact or conformed copies shall be...
  • § 48-2-305   Petition for adoption; additional documents
    At the time the petition is filed, the petitioner shall file or cause to be filed the following documents: (1) Any required affidavit of parentage...
  • § 48-2-306   Omission of required information
    (a) Before entry of a decree of adoption, the court may require or allow the filing of any additional information required by this Chapter. (b)...
  • § 48-2-401   Notice by petitioner
    (a) No later than 30 days after a petition for adoption is filed pursuant to Part 3 of this Article, the petitioner shall serve notice...
  • § 48-2-402   Manner of service
    (a) Service of the notice required under G.S. 48‑2‑401 must be made as provided by G.S. 1A‑1, Rule 4, for service of process. (b) In...
  • § 48-2-403   Notice of proceedings by clerk
    No later than five days after a petition is filed, the clerk of the court shall mail or otherwise deliver notice of the adoption proceeding...
  • § 48-2-404   Notice of proceedings by court to alleged father
    If, at any time in the proceeding, it appears to the court that there is an alleged father of a minor adoptee as described in...
  • § 48-2-405   Rights of persons entitled to notice
    Except as provided in G.S. 48‑2‑206(c), 48‑2‑206(d), and 48‑2‑207(d), a person entitled to notice whose consent is not required may appear and present evidence only...
  • § 48-2-406   Waiver of notice; effect
    (a) If notice is required under this Part, it may be waived in open court by the person entitled to receive it or by an...
  • § 48-2-407   Filing proof of service
    Proof of service of notice on each person entitled to receive notice under this Part, or a certified copy of each waiver of notice, must...
  • § 48-2-501   Report to the court during proceeding for adoption of a minor
    (a) Whenever a petition for adoption of a minor is filed, the court shall order a report to the court made to assist the court...
  • § 48-2-502   Preparation and content of report
    (a) In preparing a report to the court, the agency shall conduct a personal interview with each petitioner in the petitioner's residence and at least...
  • § 48-2-503   Timing and filing of report
    (a) The agency shall complete a written report and file it with the court within 60 days after the mailing or delivery of the order...
  • § 48-2-504   Fee for report
    (a) An agency that prepares a report to the court may charge the petitioner a reasonable fee for preparing and writing the report. No fee...
  • § 48-2-601   Hearing on, or disposition of, adoption petition; transfer of adoption proceeding; timing
    (a) If it appears to the court that a petition to adopt a minor is not contested, the court may dispose of the petition without...
  • § 48-2-602   Disclosure of fees and charges
    At least 10 days before the date of the hearing or disposition, each petitioner shall file with the court an affidavit accounting for any payment...
  • § 48-2-603   Hearing on, or disposition of, petition to adopt a minor
    (a) At the hearing on, or disposition of, a petition to adopt a minor, the court shall grant the petition upon finding by a preponderance...
  • § 48-2-604   Denying petition to adopt a minor
    (a) If at any time between the filing of a petition to adopt a minor and the issuance of the final order completing the adoption...
  • § 48-2-605   Hearing on petition to adopt an adult
    (a) At the hearing on a petition to adopt an adult, the prospective adoptive parent and the adoptee shall both appear in person, unless the...
  • § 48-2-606   Decree of adoption
    (a) A decree of adoption must state at least: (1) The name and gender of each petitioner for adoption; (2) Whether the petitioner is married,...
  • § 48-2-607   Appeals
    (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, after the final order of adoption is entered, no party to an adoption...

Article 3 - Adoption of Minors.

  • § 48-3-100   Application of Article
    This Article shall apply to the adoption of minors by adults who are not their stepparents. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • § 48-3-201   Who may place minors for adoption
    (a) Only the following may place the minor for adoption: (1) An agency, (2) A guardian, (3) Both parents acting jointly, if a. Both parents...
  • § 48-3-202   Direct placement for adoption
    (a) In a direct placement, a parent or guardian must personally select a prospective adoptive parent, but a parent or guardian may obtain assistance from...
  • § 48-3-203   Agency placement adoption
    (a) An agency may acquire legal and physical custody of a minor for purposes of adoptive placement only by means of a relinquishment pursuant to...
  • § 48-3-204   Recruitment of adoptive parents
    (a) The Social Services Commission may adopt rules requiring agencies to adopt and follow appropriate recruitment plans for prospective adoptive parents. (b) The Division may...
  • § 48-3-205   Disclosure of background information
    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, before placing a minor for adoption, an individual or agency placing the minor, or the individual's agent, must...
  • § 48-3-206   Affidavit of parentage
    (a) To assist the court in determining that a direct placement was valid and all necessary consents have been obtained, the parent or guardian who...
  • § 48-3-207   Interstate placements
    An interstate placement of a minor for purposes of adoption shall comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, Article 38 of Chapter...
  • § 48-3-301   Preplacement assessment required
    (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, placement of a minor may occur only if a written preplacement assessment: (1) Has been...
  • § 48-3-302   Request for preplacement assessment
    (a) An individual seeking to adopt may request a preplacement assessment at any time by an agency authorized by G.S. 48‑1‑109 to prepare preplacement assessments....
  • § 48-3-303   Content and timing of preplacement assessment
    (a) A preplacement assessment shall be completed within 90 days after a request has been accepted. (b) The preplacement assessment must be based on at...
  • § 48-3-304   Fees for preplacement assessment
    (a) An agency that prepares a preplacement assessment may charge a reasonable fee for doing so, even if the individual being assessed requests that it...
  • § 48-3-305   Agency disposition of preplacement assessments
    (a) The agency shall give a copy of any completed or incomplete preplacement assessment to the individual who was the subject of the assessment. If...
  • § 48-3-306   Favorable preplacement assessments
    An individual who receives a preplacement assessment containing a finding that the individual is suitable to be an adoptive parent shall provide a copy of...
  • § 48-3-307   Assessments completed after placement
    (a) If a placement occurs before a preplacement assessment is completed, the prospective adoptive parent shall deliver a copy of the assessment when completed, whether...
  • § 48-3-308   Response to unfavorable preplacement assessment
    (a) Each agency shall have a procedure for allowing an individual who has received an unfavorable preplacement assessment to have the assessment reviewed by the...
  • § 48-3-401   "Health care facility" and "attending practitioner" defined
    As used in this Article: (1) "Health care facility" includes a hospital and maternity home; and (2) "Attending practitioner" includes a physician, licensed nurse, or...
  • § 48-3-402   Authorization required to transfer physical custody
    (a) A health care facility or attending practitioner who has physical custody may release a minor for the purpose of adoption to a prospective adoptive...
  • § 48-3-501   Petitioner entitled to custody in direct placement adoptions
    Unless the court orders otherwise, when a parent or guardian places the adoptee directly with the petitioner, the petitioner acquires that parent's or guardian's right...
  • § 48-3-502   Agency entitled to custody in placement by agency
    (a) Unless the court orders otherwise, during a proceeding for adoption in which an agency places the adoptee with the petitioner: (1) The agency retains...
  • § 48-3-601   Persons whose consent to adoption is required
    Unless consent is not required under G.S. 48‑3‑603, a petition to adopt a minor may be granted only if consent to the adoption has been...
  • § 48-3-602   Consent of incompetent parents
    If a parent as described in G.S. 48‑3‑601 has been adjudicated incompetent, then the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for that parent and,...
  • § 48-3-603   Persons whose consent is not required
    (a) Consent to an adoption of a minor is not required of a person or entity whose consent is not required under G.S. 48‑3‑601, or:...
  • § 48-3-604   Execution of consent: timing
    (a) A man whose consent is required under G.S. 48‑3‑601 may execute a consent to adoption either before or after the child is born. (b)...
  • § 48-3-605   Execution of consent: procedures
    (a) A consent executed by a parent or guardian or by a minor to be adopted who is 12 years of age or older must...
  • § 48-3-606   Content of consent; mandatory provisions
    A consent required from a minor to be adopted, a parent, or a guardian under G.S. 48‑3‑601 must be in writing and state: (1) The...
  • § 48-3-607   Consequences of consent
    (a) A consent executed pursuant to G.S. 48‑3‑605 and G.S. 48‑3‑606 may be revoked as provided in G.S. 48‑3‑608. A consent is otherwise final and...
  • § 48-3-608   Revocation of consent
    (a) A consent to the adoption of any infant who is in utero or any minor may be revoked within seven days following the day...
  • § 48-3-609   Challenges to validity of consent
    (a) A consent shall be void if: (1) Before the entry of the adoption decree, the individual who executed the consent establishes by clear and...
  • § 48-3-610   Collateral agreements
    If a person executing a consent and the prospective adoptive parent or parents enter into an agreement regarding visitation, communication, support, and any other rights...
  • § 48-3-701   Individuals who may relinquish minor; timing
    (a) A parent or guardian may relinquish all parental rights or guardianship powers, including the right to consent to adoption, to an agency. If both...
  • § 48-3-702   Procedures for relinquishment
    (a) A relinquishment executed by a parent or guardian must conform substantially to the requirements in this Part and must be signed and acknowledged under...
  • § 48-3-703   Content of relinquishment; mandatory provisions
    (a) A relinquishment executed by a parent or guardian under G.S. 48‑3‑701 must be in writing and state: (1) The date and place of the...
  • § 48-3-704   Content of relinquishment; optional provisions
    In addition to the mandatory provisions listed in G.S. 48‑3‑703, a relinquishment may also state that the relinquishment may be revoked upon notice by the...
  • § 48-3-705   Consequences of relinquishment
    (a) A relinquishment executed pursuant to G.S. 48‑3‑702 through G.S. 48‑3‑704 may be revoked as provided in G.S. 48‑3‑706 and is otherwise final and irrevocable...
  • § 48-3-706   Revocation of relinquishments
    (a) A relinquishment of any infant who is in utero or any minor may be revoked within seven days following the day on which it...
  • § 48-3-707   Challenges to validity of relinquishments
    (a) A relinquishment shall become void if: (1) Before the entry of the adoption decree, the individual who executed the relinquishment establishes by clear and...

Article 4 - Adoption of a Minor Stepchild by Stepparent.

Article 5 - Adoption of Adults.

  • § 48-5-100   Application of Article
    This Article shall apply to the adoption of adults, including married and emancipated minors. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • § 48-5-101   Who may file for a petition to adopt an adult
    (a) An adult may adopt another adult, except for the spouse of the adopting adult, pursuant to this Article. (b) If a prospective adoptive parent...
  • § 48-5-102   Consent to adoption
    (a) Consent to the adoption of an adult is required only of: (1) The adult being adopted; and (2) The spouse of the petitioner in...
  • § 48-5-103   Adoption of incompetent adults
    (a) If an adult being adopted has been adjudicated incompetent, then that adult's guardian shall have authority to consent in place of that adult. (b)...

Article 6 - Adoption by a Former Parent.

  • § 48-6-100   Application of Article
    This Article shall apply to the adoption of adoptees by a former parent. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • § 48-6-101   Readoption under other Articles
    A former parent may readopt a minor adoptee pursuant to Article 3 of this Chapter or, if applicable, Article 4 of this Chapter. A former...
  • § 48-6-102   Readoption after a stepparent adoption
    (a) In addition to the methods set out in G.S. 48‑6‑101, a former parent may petition pursuant to this section to readopt an adoptee adopted...

Article 9 - Confidentiality of Records and Disclosure of Information.

  • § 48-9-101   Certain terms defined
    (a) For purposes of this Article, "records" means any petition, affidavit, consent or relinquishment, transcript or notes of testimony, deposition, power of attorney, report, decree,...
  • § 48-9-102   Records confidential and sealed
    (a) All records created or filed in connection with an adoption, except the decree of adoption and the entry in the special proceedings index in...
  • § 48-9-103   Release of nonidentifying information
    (a) An adoptive parent, an adoptee who is an adult at the time of the request, or a minor adoptee who is a parent or...
  • § 48-9-104   Release of identifying information
    (a) Except as provided in G.S. 48‑9‑109(2) or (3), no person or entity shall release from any records retained and sealed under this Article the...
  • § 48-9-105   Action for release of identifying and other nonidentifying information
    (a) Any information necessary for the protection of the adoptee or the public in or derived from the records, including medical information not otherwise obtainable,...
  • § 48-9-106   Release of original certificate of birth
    Upon receipt of a certified copy of a court order issued pursuant to G.S. 48‑9‑105 authorizing the release of an adoptee's original certificate of birth,...
  • § 48-9-107   New birth certificates
    (a) Upon receipt of a report of the adoption of a minor from the Division, or the documents required by G.S. 48‑9‑102(g) from the clerk...
  • § 48-9-108   Restoration of original birth certificates if a decree of adoption is set aside
    If a final decree of adoption is set aside, the court shall send a certified copy of the order within 10 days after it becomes...
  • § 48-9-109   Certain disclosures authorized
    Nothing in this Article shall be interpreted or construed to prevent: (1) An employee of a court, agency, or any other person from: a. Inspecting...

Article 10 - Prohibited Practices in Connection With Adoption.

  • § 48-10-101   Prohibited activities in placement
    (a) No one other than a person or entity specified in G.S. 48‑3‑201 may place a minor for adoption. No one other than a person...
  • § 48-10-102   Unlawful payments related to adoption
    (a) Except as provided in G.S. 48‑10‑103, a person or entity may not pay or give, offer to pay or give, or request, receive or...
  • § 48-10-103   Lawful payments related to adoption
    (a) An adoptive parent, or another person acting on behalf of an adoptive parent, may pay the reasonable and actual fees and expenses for: (1)...
  • § 48-10-104   Failure to disclose nonidentifying information
    An adoptive parent, an adoptee, or any person who is the subject of any information required under G.S. 48‑3‑205 or authorized for release under Article...
  • § 48-10-105   Unauthorized disclosure of information
    (a) Except as authorized in G.S. 48‑3‑205 or in Article 9 of this Chapter, no identifying or nonidentifying information contained in a report or records...