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North Carolina Supreme Court Considering Same-Sex Adoption

This Charlotte child custody lawyer observes that a current custody case being heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court could decide whether North Carolina state law allows a certain kind of adoption by same-sex couples in North Carolina. Senator Julia Boseman and her ex-partner, Melissa Jarrell, are litigating custody issues after Boseman’s so-called “second parent adoption” of Jarrell’s son in 2005. Second parent adoptions, which are being granted in only a few North Carolina counties, are permitted in 27 other states.

Jarrell and Boseman were living together when the child was born in 2002, after Jarrell’s successful artificial insemination. Boseman has been actively involved in the child’s life since his birth. After the couple broke up in 2003, they received joint child custody. However, Jarrell’s lawyer argued that the adoption should be voided because second parent adoptions technically do not exist under North Carolina law. The trial court and the Court of Appeals upheld the adoption, but Jarrell’s attorney argues that the adoption court created its own adoption procedure by weaving together various statutes to make a new kind of adoption that is not provided for by statute. Boseman’s lawyer calls the adoption a “direct placement adoption”, which is provided for by law in North Carolina.

A ruling in the case is likely to be months away.