Kinship Adoption in S.C.: What You Need to Know

If you’re acting as a guardian for a child and are their grandparent, aunt, uncle or otherwise related to them by blood or marriage, you may be interested in a kinship adoption in South Carolina.

The South Carolina adoption statute allows a relative of a child (often grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives) to adopt that child while dispensing with many of the formalities and requirements of other adoptions. For instance, depending on the relationship between you and the child you are hoping to adopt, no accounting of disbursements is required to be presented to the court, no investigation (pre­placement or post­placement) report is required, and no medical and social history (child report) is required.

At the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we can help you complete your in-family adoption in South Carolina legally and efficiently. You will need an experienced lawyer to adopt a family member and, with law offices in Spartanburg and Charleston, our firm is available to handle kinship adoptions in every county in South Carolina. To discuss your individual relative adoption today, please call us at 864-573-5533.

Here’s what you need to know about adopting a relative:

Why You Should Adopt a Relative

The “typical” family makeup of two parents and a child is no longer the norm in the United States; many families include grandparents or other relatives raising a child they’re related to by blood. If you’re in this situation, you probably already have a strong parent-child relationship — and may wonder why a legal adoption is even necessary.

However, legally adopting a family member protects many of the rights you need as their legal guardian and presumed parent. Taking this step will:

  • Give your child inheritance and insurance rights
  • Make it easier for you to do everyday parental duties like picking your child up from school or taking them to the doctor’s office
  • Provide a sense of legal and emotional stability to your family relationship
  • Make it possible to change your child’s legal surname to yours
  • And more

Because the adoption of a family member can be a fairly straightforward process, attorney Jim Thompson highly recommends you legally adopt any child to whom you are acting as guardian.

The Legal Process: How to Adopt a Relative in S.C.

When you choose to adopt a family member, your adoption process will be easier than the typical infant adoption. Unless your local court determines it’s necessary, you will not have to submit any background clearances, undergo any kind of investigation or report or keep track of the disbursements required in the adoption. Depending on your situation, your adoption may be finalized faster than 90 days after your petition has been filed.

In addition, some relative adoptions are eligible to receive up to $1,500 per child for non­recurring costs associated with the adoption. These usually apply to cases of adopted children with “special needs” (which is defined differently in regards to adoption) to make the cost of adopting a family member more feasible. We will make sure you receive these funds if you are eligible for them.

Here’s how we’ll help you complete a kinship adoption in South Carolina:

  1. We’ll gather all the documentation needed and submit an adoption petition to your local family court.
  2. We’ll help obtain the consent of the child’s legal parents, if necessary. If the child is older than 14 years, the child will have to consent to the adoption as well.
  3. After the adoption petition is submitted, the court will hold an adoption finalization hearing. We can help you prepare for this hearing, but it’s usually nothing more than a way for the judge to affirm that the adoption is being made in the best interest of the child being adopted. If any complications arise, attorney Jim Thompson will be available to represent your interests.
  4. Unless a post-placement assessment or other requirements are deemed necessary by the court, your adoption will be finalized at this hearing.

Not every adoption is the same, so your case may require different steps. For example, if you and the child to be adopted live in different states, you may have to follow ICPC rules. We can provide counsel through this process and any other legal requirements you need to meet before your family adoption can be completed.

In addition, if you’re adopting a child you’re related to from the foster care system, your relative adoption process may be different.

Adopt a Family Member Today

Adopting a relative is a life-changing process that provides benefits for all involved. At the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we are available to discuss your individual situation and to begin your kinship adoption today. To get started, please call us at 864-573-5533 or contact us online.