Does a Child Need to Consent to an Adoption in North Carolina?

According to data from the Adoption Network, approximately one in every fifty children born in the United States will be adopted before their eighteenth birthday. There are a number of different types of adoption—including private infant adoptions and stepparent adoptions of their spouse’s child. You may be wondering: Does a child have to consent to an adoption? In North Carolina, the answer depends on the child’s age. Here, our Monroe adoption attorney explains the most important things to understand about adoption and a child’s consent in North Carolina.

North Carolina Law: Adoption and a Child’s Consent

In North Carolina, a child may be required to consent to their own adoption. Under North Carolina law (N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 48-3-601(1)), the consent of the child is required if “the minor to be adopted is 12 or more years of age.” With limited exceptions for disabled children whom the law deems to lack the capacity necessary to give consent, North Carolina law requires the adoptive parent(s) to get consent from the child if that child is 12 years of age or older.

Consent is Not Required for Younger Children

Children who are under the age of 12 in North Carolina are not deemed to have any legal capacity to consent to their own adoption and therefore their consent is not required for court approval of the adoption. Though there are some children who are between 7 and 11 years old who may have a general understanding of what adoption is, the court determines they lack the legal capacity to give or deny their consent.

Adoptive Parents Should Help the Child Transition in an Age-Appropriate Manner

Regardless of consent, every adoption is different. Adoptive parents in North Carolina should always take proper care to help facilitate a smooth transition in a manner that is age-appropriate for the child. Adoption can be challenging—a child’s feelings are important and they deserve the proper care and attention.

Get Help From an Adoption Lawyer in Union County, North Carolina

At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our North Carolina family lawyers have experience handling adoption cases. If you have any specific questions or concerns about child consent, we are available as a legal resource. Call us now or contact us online to set up a completely confidential initial legal consultation. From our Monroe law office, we provide legal representation to adoptive parents throughout Union County, including in Indian Trail, Matthews, Stallings, and Mint Hill.