Are you thinking of adopting a child in Greenville County, but you have no idea what the requirements in South Carolina are? Adoptions in Greenville, SC have to comply with Code Title 63, Chapter 9. The 1st Article of Chapter 9, the South Carolina Adoption Act, is the most important for families wanting to adopt.
It establishes the procedures for adopting a child throughout the state, protects the well-being of children given for adoption, and recognizes and protects the interests and needs of both biological and adoptive parents. In case of conflicts between children and adults, South Carolina adoption laws favor children.
Brief Overview of South Carolina Adoptions Law
According to Chapter 9, a basic requirement for adoptions in Greenville, SC, is for the petitioner to be a South Carolina resident, and for the child to be in the state when they file the adoption petition. The child may have resided or been born anywhere else.
Non-residents may file a petition with the South Carolina Family Court when:
- They wish to adopt a child from South Carolina who is their relative by marriage or blood
- They wish to adopt a child with special needs (children with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities; groups of siblings, mixed racial heritage, children over six years of age)
- They are in the military and stationed in SC
- They wish to adopt a child with notoriety, for whom it would be better to live elsewhere (for example, a child involved in publicized abuse cases)
- The child spent more than six months in foster care after the completion of legal adoption procedures
South Carolina law requires children over the age of 14 to give their consent for their adoption. An obvious exception to the rule would be children who do not have the mental capacity to do so. Assuming the petitioners for adoptions in Greenville, South Carolina, meet all requirements, the final hearing for the adoption only takes place after the parties (the adoptive family and the adopted child) live together for a period of minimum 90 days).
The agency providing adoption services in South Carolina is the Department of Social Services. They deal with parents willing to give their children up for adoption, people wanting to adopt, adoptive families, adoptees, and birth parents or adoptees of legal age wanting access to the reunion registry in order to find their biological relatives.
Family Courts review petitions for adoptions in South Carolina. Once they enter an adoption decree, neither the adoption parties nor third parties can question validity due to jurisdiction, irregularity, or any other reasons. The Court may grant relief after the adoption decree only in cases of extrinsic fraud, involving a person’s prevention to present a case or defend their rights/interests in court.
Other Legal Requirements/Stipulations for Adoptions in Greenville SC
- Adoption laws in South Carolina do not address the right of same-sex couples to file an adoption petition, but LGBTQ+ singles may adopt individually.
- Adoptive parents may advertise for birth parents, but, in order to do it, they should have an up-to-date home study report approving them for adoption.
- Adopting parents may use adoption facilitators or other paid intermediaries, but the payments for their services require the court’s approval.
- Adopting parents may have to pay birthparent expenses like medical, legal, and living expenses, and reimburse fees paid for investigations, child-placing and/or child-sending agencies within a reasonable period.
- While the law does not specify a minimum time for consenting to adoption, in practice, at least 24 hours should pass from the child’s birth. The consent is irrevocable unless birth parents prove they gave it involuntarily or withdrawal is in the best interests of the child. In case of consent revocation, children return to their parents automatically.
- The court does not recognize contact agreements signed after the adoption decree.
- Foster care adoptions in Greenville, SC qualify for adoption subsidies when they refer to a special needs child. The adopted child should be in the South Carolina State’s custody. Subsidies payments begin at the child’s placement with the adoptive family.
- South Carolina laws allow and even facilitate stepparent adoptions only with the other birth parent’s consent. The only exception to this rule refers to parental rights terminated as a result of neglect, abandonment, unfitness, or not paying child support.
How to Facilitate Adoptions in Greenville SC
Unfortunately, adoptions in South California are long and challenging processes. They require the adopting parents to deal with both complicated legal procedures and the emotional turmoil of bonding with children who may have trouble understanding why they cannot live with their birth parents, while also adapting to the new environment. When the parents have challenging jobs or other worries, their situation becomes almost unbearable.
An adoptions attorney can make everything easier. They can help the adopting parents prepare for the process, prove their eligibility, and file a substantial, well-documented petition with the family court, to make sure they obtain the adoption decree. They can also handle the relationship with the birth parents, the adoption agency, or any other party involved in the adoption process, protecting the interests of both the adopted child and the adoptive parents.
In case birthparent expenses have to be paid, the attorney can verify their legitimacy and negotiate lower amounts and more convenient payment terms, to make sure the adoptive parents can afford them.
They can also help parents adopting children from foster care obtain subsidies faster, by speeding up the adoption process and proving their eligibility. There are many other ways to simplify adoptions in South Carolina. Greenville adoptions attorneys know them all, and hiring their services is the best decision adopting parents can make.
Consult with a Greenville Child Adoption Attorney Today
If you want to adopt a child in South Carolina, contact Robert Clark, at Greenville Family Law! An adoptive parent himself, he understands all the challenges you are facing and will provide you with a confident and compassionate representation. He has successfully handled hundreds of adoptions in Greenville, SC, and he is the man who can help you see your child home soon and with as little hassle as possible.