Second Parent Adoption

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Second Parent Adoption

Second Parent Adoption | Raleigh, NC | Mills Adoption Law

A second-parent adoption allows a person, a “second parent,” to adopt a child without the “first parent” losing any parental rights. In some states, this process can be done whether they are married to the other parent or not.

Although North Carolina has allowed for same-sex marriage since 2014, North Carolina does not yet allow second parent adoptions. North Carolina does not permit two unmarried people to adopt a child together.

What this means, practically, is that a same-sex couple must be married for the “second parent” to adopt the biological child of their spouse as a stepparent.

Adopting Your Spouse’s Child

As a same-sex couple, if your spouse has a child, your marriage does not automatically grant you parental rights to your spouse’s child. That is true even if your spouse gives birth to that child.

Adoption as a stepparent is the best option for couples where one spouse is a parent and they want the other spouse to have the same parental rights to the child. Creating a legal relationship establishes enforceable parental rights for the stepparent, and it also protects the child’s right to a relationship with the stepparent in the event of a divorce or the death of the other biological parent.

When a child has not been adopted by a stepparent, the stepparent has only very limited legal authority, and you may run into some of the following issues:

  • You may not have custody or visitation rights in the event of a divorce
  • Your child has no protection from being taken away if the biological parent dies or is unable to perform their parental duties

North Carolina law requires that a couple be married for at least six months prior to the adoption before you can adopt your stepchild. If you lived together prior to getting married, that time will not count towards this requirement. There are exceptions to this rule.

After filing the petition, there are steps designed to ensure that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. These include the following:

  • Criminal Background Check
  • If the child is age 12 or older, the child must consent to the adoption
  • Home Visits or Post-Placement Visits
  • Report to the Court

The adoption process is complex and can vary depending on your situation. It’s critical to have an experienced adoption attorney on your side to help you navigate the process.

Experience on Your Side

Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience in adoptions in North Carolina and can help you with your adoption. adoption. If you are a member of a non-traditional family and wish to adopt your partner’s child or have your partner adopt your child, please call us today at (919) 533-4025 to set up a consultation.

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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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