Relative Adoption

Relative Adoption | North Carolina Adoption Law | 919-306-2899

Grandparents, Relatives, & Kinship Care Arrangements

Many parents cannot provide proper care for their children. Sometimes, the best option for the parent and the child is to place the child with a relative. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings, cousins, and even great grandparents are raising children.

Unfortunately, far too many relatives are raising children without the legal authority that they need to make decisions and protect children from harmful disruptions in their living situations. When caregivers don’t have proper legal authority, parents can remove children from the security of the only home they know.

There are several different levels of legal authority. Each level provides greater authority and permanence.

  1. Powers of attorney – Powers of attorney are granted by a parent. They provided limited authority and can be revoked by a parent at will.
  2. Legal custody – Custody can be legal decision making and / or physical care. Custody is granted by a court. It is always temporary and can be changed anytime there is a change in circumstances.
  3. Guardianship – Guardianship is legal decision making and physical care. It may also include authority to manage a ward’s property. Guardianship is granted by a court. It can be changed by the court, if the guardian fails to perform his duties.
  4. Adoption – Adoption creates a new family structure and parent child relationship. It is permanent and provides security.

Life can be complicated. Let us help sort out the legal issues, while you concentrate on taking care of the child. An experienced lawyer can help you through the process, so that you can provide the protection and care that the child needs.

Contact an experienced lawyer about your options. It is especially important to have expert legal advice if the child has been the subject of court proceedings in the past.

Relative Adoption Requirements

Like any other legal procedure, adoptions can be complicated. In most respects, adopting a child who is related to you is just like adopting any other child. If your biological relationship to the child is close enough, a home study may not be necessary. In North Carolina, a home study is not required if you are the child’s:

  • Grandparent
  • Full or half sibling
  • First cousin
  • Aunt or uncle
  • Great-aunt or great-uncle
  • Great-grandparent

If you are a stepparent, visit our stepparent page for more information.

Benefits of a Relative Adoption

Like any other adoption, the adopting relatives will gain full parental rights for the child they adopt. Some of the benefits include:

  • Making medical decisions
  • Ensuring inheritance benefits for the child
  • Making educational decisions
  • Protecting your relationship from being disrupted

Even if you are already living with the child and helping with their care, formalizing that relationship will make sure you are able to protect the child and act in their best interest going forward.

How an Attorney Can Help

Even though the relative adoption process in North Carolina is more streamlined than a traditional adoption, it’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side to help with the process, which includes:

  • Ensuring that your situation qualifies for relative adoption
  • Obtaining consent from the biological parents, or seeking termination of their parental rights in court
  • Filing the proper paperwork with the court
  • Determining whether you need a home study and guiding you through the process
  • Addressing any previous court proceedings
  • Obtaining any financial assistance
  • Finalizing the adoption process in court

Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience in North Carolina adoption law and can help you navigate the process of relative adoptions. Call us today 919-533-4025 to set up a consultation and to get your questions answered!

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Why Choose Mills Adoption Law?

  • Experience–Attorney Bobby Mills has over 35 years of experience representing birth parents, adoptive parents, and foster parents through all aspects of adoption and parental rights.
  • Adoption Specialist–Other firms include adoption and parental rights as part of their larger family law practice areas. At Mills Adoption Law, we focus exclusively on adoption, parental rights, and foster parent rights.
  • Board-Certified–Attorney Bobby Mills is a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproductive Attorneys, certified by the board as a specialist in family law, and the former director of a child placement agency.
  • Agency Attorney–At Mills Adoption Law, we also represent child placement agencies and their clients.

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Professional Associations

Martindale-Hubbell - Preeminent
Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys
Board Certified Specialist
AdoptMatch - Approved

Why Should You Choose An Adoption Attorney?

Adoption is a wonderful option for expanding your family, but the laws governing the process are quite complex. Working with an attorney with significant experience in adoption law will help ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly.

An adoption attorney will:


We will provide an unbiased explanation of adoption procedures and develop a legally secure plan tailored to your needs.


We will assess the risks involved, including determining what payments are permissible and ensuring that birth parents are treated fairly and their rights are legally terminated before placement is finalized.


We will clarify your options, if any, for post-placement arrangements with birth parents, making sure your interests and those of the child are served.

Adopting Attorney | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


We will explain your rights and adoption laws in your state or refer you to attorneys who practice in other states or internationally.


We will review and negotiate the adoption agency contract to protect your interests.

You Should...


You should contact an attorney as early as possible in the decision-making process.


Learn about the specific types of adoption services the attorney provides. Ask what percentage of the practice is dedicated to adoption and how many adoption proceedings the attorney has handled.


Choose an attorney who is experienced in the type of adoption you are considering.

Adopting A Child | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


Know what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and that you can afford the services.


Ask questions, request references, share your concerns and provide the attorney with all relevant documents. Ask for a written retainer agreement that outlines what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and other details regarding fees and fee payment.

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