As a stepparent, you play a vital role in your stepchild’s life. Not only do you provide emotional and physical support, but also, you and your stepchild share many experiences together, have many memories together and likely experienced several of life’s milestones together. As a result, you may wish to make your relationship “more official” by adopting your stepchild. Before you can proceed with the adoption process in North Carolina, you must first receive consent from several parties.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, most states generally require the consent of three individuals: The child’s custodial parent (presumably your spouse), the child’s noncustodial parent and the child. In some states, approval from the child’s other parent is not necessary for certain situations. For instance, if the other parent abandoned the child, you may not need consent. However, regardless of the law, you have a legal obligation to do everything in your power to obtain consent.

In all states, an older child must consent to his or her adoption. The age at which the child’s consent is necessary varies from state to state, but typically, states require consent from children between the ages of 10 and 14.

When a noncustodial parent gives consent, he or she gives up all rights and responsibilities to the child. This includes the obligation to pay child support. However, in some states, a person can revoke consent, challenge an adoption or even overturn an already done deal. However, a state may only allow the latter two if the stepparent and spouse fail to meet the requirements or obtain consent through fraudulent means.

This article should not be used as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.