South Carolina Adoption Laws
Adoptions can occur for many reasons. Whatever the cause, it is a process that helps provide a family for a child (or in some cases an adult) in need. From infants to young adults, there are countless children in South Carolina looking for a permanent home. While being an adoptive parent can be incredibly rewarding, the laws surrounding adoptions can at times be complicated.
How do I become an adoptive parent in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are several ways to become an adoptive parent. If you are interested in providing a permanent home for a child you can call the South Carolina Department of Social Services. You can also call your local adoption office for more information. The contact information for Aiken County’s office is available here.
After the initial contact you, will be screened by Department of Social Services including a SLED and fingerprint check. You will also have to complete a training course and have your home visited by specialists to ensure that children are coming into a safe environment. You will also likely have to submit references, medical forms, birth certificates, marriage licenses and other documents to prove that your home is a good fit for an adoptive child. To make the process easier, an experienced South Carolina family law attorney can help you prepare all necessary documentation to proceed with an adoption case.
Who is eligible to adopt in South Carolina?
Generally, any South Carolina resident is eligible to be an adoptive parent. There are some circumstances, however, where an adoption can take place when the adoptive parent is not a South Carolina resident including exceptions for military service in South Carolina and when the child is placed with a biologically related relative.
Who must consent to an adoption taking place?
If the child’s natural parents are alive, they must consent to the adoption. If the parents are missing or deceased, a legal guardian of the child needs to consent. If the child is over the age of 14, the child’s consent to the adoption may be required unless this is waived by the court.
If the child’s natural parents are unmarried, then required consent is more complicated, especially for fathers. A father’s consent is required if he was not married to the child’s mother at time of adoption but he maintained a substantial or continuous contact with the child. Fathers can protect their rights to be notified of an adoption by registering for South Carolina’s Responsible Fathers Registry. This registry provides notice to unmarried biological fathers of adoption proceedings or proceedings that involve a termination of parental rights.
How can a South Carolina adoption attorney help?
The lawyers at Surasky Law have many years of experience in the family court and would be happy to help your family grow through adoption. We can help you through the adoption process and answer all questions you may have.
Contact us today for assistance with your case.