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North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 48 Adoptions

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Article -

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-1 through 48-38.   Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 457, s. 1

Article 1 - General Provisions.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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;...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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;...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...

Article 2 - General Adoption Procedure.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-2-204.   Death of a joint petitioner or stepparent pending final decree
    (a) When spouses have petitioned jointly to adopt and one spouse dies before entry of a final decree, the adoption may proceed in the...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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 minor child has been previously adopted in...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-2-207.   Necessity of consent post-petition
    (a) If any individual who is described in G.S. 48-3-601 or entitled to notice under G.S. 48-2-401(c)(3) is served with notice of the filing...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-2-302.   Concurrent petitions to adopt and terminate parental rights
    (a) Repealed by Session Laws 2012-16, s. 1, effective October 1, 2012. (b) Repealed by Session Laws 2013-236, s. 4, effective July 3, 2013....
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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 ____________________________...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-2-305.   Petition for adoption; additional documents
    The petitioner shall file or cause to be filed the following documents: (1) Any required affidavit of parentage executed under G.S. 48-3-206. (2) Any...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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....
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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 initiate...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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)...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...

Article 3 - Adoption of Minors.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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....
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-3-309.   Mandatory preplacement criminal checks of prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a minor who is in the custody or placement responsibility of a county department of social services and mandatory preplacement criminal checks of all individuals 18 years of age or older who reside in the prospective adoptive home
    (a) The Department shall ensure that the criminal histories of all prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a minor who is in the custody...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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....
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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 each...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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 the following: (1) The date and...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-3-707.   Challenges to validity of relinquishments
    (a) A relinquishment shall become void if any of the following occur: (1) Before the entry of the adoption decree, the individual who executed...

Article 4 - Adoption of a Minor Stepchild by Stepparent.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-100.   Application of Article
    This Article shall apply to the adoption of minors by their stepparents. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-101.   Who may file a petition to adopt a minor stepchild
    A stepparent may file a petition under this Article to adopt a minor who is the child of the stepparent's spouse if: (1) The...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-102.   Consent to adoption of stepchild
    Except under circumstances described in G.S. 48-3-603, a petition to adopt a minor stepchild may be granted only if consent to the adoption has...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-103.   Execution and content of consent to adoption by stepparent
    (a) A consent executed by a parent who is the stepparent's spouse: (1) Must be signed and acknowledged before an individual authorized to administer...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-104.   Repealed by Session Laws 1997-215, s. 12(b)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-4-105.   Visitation awards to grandparents pursuant to Chapter 50 of the General Statutes
    (a) An adoption under this Article does not terminate or otherwise affect visitation rights awarded to a biological grandparent of a minor pursuant to...

Article 5 - Adoption of Adults.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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....

Article 6 - Adoption by a Former Parent.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-6-100.   Application of Article
    This Article shall apply to the adoption of adoptees by a former parent. (1995, c. 457, s. 2.)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...

Article 9 - Confidentiality of Records and Disclosure of Information.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-9-101.   Records 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,...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-9-104.   Release of identifying information; confidential intermediary services
    (a) Except as provided in this section or in G.S. 48-9-109(2) or (3), no person or entity shall release from any records retained and...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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....

Article 10 - Prohibited Practices in Connection With Adoption.

  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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:...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 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...

Last modified: March 23, 2014