How Relative Adoption Can Help You Legally Complete Your Family

If you are currently raising a young relative in your home, making the decision to adopt is a big step toward permanency for your entire family. Whether you are considering adopting a family member like a grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin or sibling, you will need a partner you can trust to guide you through the legal and emotional process of relative adoption in South Carolina.

With much of his practice focusing on relative adoption, Rick Corley is committed to helping you gain the parental rights you need and the stability your child deserves.

Relative Adoption in South Carolina

As a South Carolina adoption attorney, Rick can provide all of the services you need to safely and legally adopt a family member, including:

  • Consultation and case management: Rick will schedule a consultation with you to talk about your circumstances and gather the information he needs to begin the relative adoption process. He will continue to provide legal advice and guidance through each step of the process and ensure all South Carolina laws are followed.
  • Legal paperwork: Once he has the information he needs from you, Rick can file an adoption petition with the court to initiate the legal adoption process. He will also complete all of the other legal paperwork necessary to complete your relative adoption.
  • Termination of parental rights: Every adoption involves the legal termination of parental rights of the child’s biological parents. Birth parents can either consent to have their rights terminated voluntarily, or their rights can be involuntarily terminated by the court. Rick can work with you to complete this important step in the legal adoption process.
  • Financial assistance: Adopting relatives are often eligible to receive state funding to help offset the costs of raising an adopted child. Rick can help you determine whether your relative adoption qualifies and complete the steps necessary to obtain that financial assistance.
  • Adoption finalization: The last step in the legal relative adoption process is finalization. Rick will arrange a finalization hearing and notify you when it is time to appear in court. At the hearing, the judge will sign the final adoption decree, and the legal adoption process will be complete.

In many ways, relative adoption is similar to any other type of adoption. Just like in nonrelative adoptions, the relative adoption process terminates the parental rights of your child’s biological parents and establishes a new legal parent-child relationship.

However, relative adoption in South Carolina is simpler than nonrelative adoption in a few key ways:

  • You do not have to search for an adoption opportunity. In fact, in many relative adoptions, the relative has been acting as the child’s caregiver for some time before beginning the legal adoption process.
  • A home study is not required. While most adoptions involve a thorough home study process, this requirement is waived for relative adoptions unless otherwise directed by the court.
  • An accounting is not required. South Carolina requires adoptive parents to file an accounting with the court, which explains all payments made in connection with the adoption. This requirement is waived for relative adoptions.
  • The finalization hearing may happen earlier. In most South Carolina adoptions, the family must wait at least 90 days after filing the adoption petition before attending the finalization hearing. However, this is not the case for relative adoptions, and most hearings are scheduled within weeks of beginning the adoption process.

Because there are fewer legal requirements to adopt a relative in South Carolina, the relative adoption process is often more streamlined and cost-effective than many other forms of adoption. With Rick’s guidance and legal expertise, you can legally establish the parental rights and sense of stability your family needs, all within a matter of weeks.

About Relative Adoption

Relative adoption is defined as any adoption in which the prospective parents are related to the child by blood or marriage. In these adoption situations, the adoptive parent is often a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or sibling.

In relative adoptions, the prospective adoptive parents often serve as the child’s primary caregiver even before beginning the adoption process. Without adoption, these caregivers have very few legal rights, if any, for the children they are raising. By legally adopting the child in their care, these relatives become the child’s legal parents and have all of the parental rights they need to successfully parent the child.

If you are currently raising a younger relative in your home, there are many reasons to consider legally adopting the child. Through relative adoption, you can:

  • Make important medical decisions for the child and access their medical records
  • Easily perform everyday tasks, like picking the child up from school, enrolling in classes, and more
  • Claim the child on your taxes and receive social security benefits
  • Help protect inheritance rights and insurance benefits for the child
  • Provide permanency and stability for the child, as well as the rest of your family

In many ways, the relative adoption process is simpler than many other forms of adoption, making it an easy and cost-effective way to provide these important benefits to your family. However, you will still need the services of an experienced adoption attorney to finalize the adoption.

Rick Corley has helped hundreds of families adopt a relative in South Carolina and can provide all of the services and guidance you need to complete the process from start to finish. For more information about adopting a relative in South Carolina or to learn more about Rick’s legal adoption services, contact him today to schedule a consultation.