Helping Individuals And Families Provide A Forever Home

At Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, we counsel and represent stepparents, grandparents and other individuals who wish to legally gain the parental rights and responsibilities for a child. From our office in Hickory, our adoption attorneys are available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns about this important undertaking.

Here are a few general questions and answers:

  • What is an adoption? The creation by law of the relationship of parent and child between two individuals.
  • What is the purpose of an adoption? The judicial process and policies for adoptions in North Carolina were created with the primary purposes of advancing the welfare of minors by (i) protecting minors from unnecessary separation from their original parents, (ii) facilitating the adoption of minors in need of adoptive placement by persons who can give them love, care, security and support, (iii) protecting minors from placement with adoptive parents unfit to have responsibility for their care and rearing, and (iv) assuring the finality of the adoption. The secondary purposes of the adoption statute are (i) to protect biological parents from ill-advised decisions to relinquish a child or consent to the child's adoption, (ii) to protect adoptive parents from assuming responsibility for a child about whose heredity or mental or physical condition they know nothing, (iii) to protect the privacy of the parties to the adoption, and (iv) to discourage unlawful trafficking in minors and other unlawful placement activities. G.S. § 48-1-101.
  • What is a pre-placement assessment? A document, whether prepared before or after placement, that contains information on a prospective adoptive parent as required by G.S. § 48-3-303. [G.S. § 48-1-101(14)]
  • Does it matter if I'm married? In a stepparent adoption, a stepparent files a petition to adopt the child of the stepparent's spouse. [G.S. § 48-4-101] If you are married and your spouse is not a legal parent of the minor child, both you and your spouse must jointly petition to adopt the child, unless the spouse has been declared incompetent or the court waives this requirement for cause. [G.S. § 48-2-301(b)] If you are not married and want to adopt a child, no one else may join you in the petition for adoption, subject to a few exceptions involving readopting a child who was previously adopted in a foreign country.
  • Why do I need an attorney? North Carolina adoptions are governed by a strict and complex set of rules. Failing to follow all the steps and comply with all the laws can result in your adoption petition being denied. When you turn to our law firm, we will ensure that everything proceeds correctly in order to help make your goal a reality.
  • Can the birth mother change her mind? Yes, she can, but the birth mother has only one week to rescind her consent.
  • Can the biological father stop the adoption? This depends greatly on whether he is the husband or legal father, or whether he sired the child out of wedlock and never legally established paternity. In either case, the biological father has the right to be informed of the adoption, even if he is not able to prevent it.

Learn More About Our Services

Whether you intend to pursue a stepparent adoption, you are a biological parent and want to contest the adoption or you have any other goals, turn to Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC. Schedule a consultation by emailing our lawyers or calling us at 828-848-8776 (toll free at 888-321-0494). We charge $200 for a one-hour consultation.