Making the decision to expand your family by adopting a child is an exciting and complex decision. In the state of South Carolina, there are a variety of rules and regulations that guide the adoption process once a family chooses to adopt a child. Further complicating matters is the out-of-state adoption process, as the rule and regulations of the different involved states apply. It is critical to becoming familiar with the basic laws governing adoption in South Carolina as you and your family consider this life-changing decision.
Eligibility to Adopt
The South Carolina Adoption Act is the primary source for the rules governing adoptions in our state. While any South Carolina resident may petition the family court to adopt a child, nonresidents may also petition to adopt a South Carolina child under special circumstances, for example:
- Special needs children;
- If the nonresident petitioner is the child’s biological relative or relative by marriage; and
- Any other unusual or exceptional circumstances where the best interests of the child would be served by placement outside South Carolina.
Any person who files for an adoption with the South Carolina family courts must undergo an evaluation to make sure that placement with the adoptive family will be in the best interests of the child. A financial evaluation, criminal background check, and home study are all part of the process for the court to make a legal determination to approve the adoption. The goal is to place the child in the stable, loving and healthy environment that they deserve.
Unless parental rights have already been terminated or the biological parent(s) are incompetent to give legal consent, most adoptions require written consent. Consent may be required by one or both biological parents, legal guardian, or the child himself/herself if the child is over fourteen (14) years of age. Such consent may not be the product of undue pressure or coercion. Any suspicion of pressure or coercion can result in a revocation of consent and the adoption petition may be denied.
Protection Against Trafficking
The South Carolina Adoption Act also has protections in place against child-placement agencies receiving money or other valuable consideration for consenting to an adoption. The overarching objective is to prevent the buying and selling of children and to protect the adoptive parents from being taken advantage of. According to South Carolina Law, acceptable fees charged by a child-placement agency include those for reasonable medical and living expenses of the child, investigative expenses as required by the Adoption Act, expert and attorney fees, and any other reasonable fees to be determined by the court. The court may ultimately approve an adoption without approving unreasonable fees and costs related to the adoption.
Adoption is a wonderful choice for the right family and a great service to our community, giving children that may not otherwise have the stability and protection of a family that can provide them with the opportunities to grow and thrive in South Carolina. Allowing a family law firm to assist in navigating the South Carolina Adoption Act and associated regulations can facilitate the adoption process by uniting the child with their new family competently.
Contact Our Adoption Attorneys Today
Mount Pleasant families seeking to explore adoption should contact Klok Law Firm LLC. Our adoption lawyers have the experience to handle the adoption process from start to finish or to facilitate the process you have already started. Please contact our Mt. Pleasant Adoption lawyers today.