Articles Posted in Adoption

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

Adoption is beautiful. Whether a family is adopting a child from foster care or a stepparent is adopting a child from the blended family, adoption is usually a process filled with happiness and love. However, the process of adopting another individual can also be difficult and confusing, especially for those step-parents who want to adopt a child. With the number of divorces occurring all across the United States, it is not surprising that there are more stepparents than ever who want to adopt the children they have helped in raising.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

In the midst of a divorce, the focus is on which parent will be awarded custody of the children. What most people do not know, though, is that there are other options in a custody battle beyond the biological parents. In North Carolina, there are various statutes that can award a grandparent custody or visitation. Grandparents play a special role in a child’s life. While there may be options for grandparents to seek custody and visitation, it is by no means a guarantee that the grandparent will receive the custody or visitation. Instead, the statutes are merely a means to get into the court system to ask for visitation. The statutes do not entitle a grandparent to court ordered custody or visitation.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can I keep my Kids from seeing the other parent?”

When thinking of adoption, most people think about a young child being adopted by a family that is going to take care of him or her for the rest of the child’s life. Not often does someone first imagine an adult is being adopted. Adoption does not have to be of someone under the age of 18. The number of adult adoptions that occur throughout the county each year is not available because that is not a statistic that is tracked nationally. Regardless of the statistics, it can be useful to know the basics of adult adoption.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

What is a mother? A father? A parent? Though these concepts have long avoided detailed examination by the courts, times are changing and specific definitions will need to be created or, in some cases, changed. As states continue to feel the impact of the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, they have found themselves increasingly drawn into disputes regarding what makes someone a parent, something that requires the courts to lay out a more precise and potentially different definition than in years past.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

A Georgia man who hired a surrogate to carry his child for $33,000 may be getting more than he bargained for.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”

Same-Sex Adoptions

Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

A lawsuit out of Utah has sparked nationwide coverage after a man claims that his son’s biological mother put their child up for adoption without his knowledge. The man has responded by suing the woman, the adoptive parents and the adoption agency for $130 million in federal court, claiming that the decision amounts to kidnapping.

New Baby Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law Attorney.jpgThe adoption took place soon after the boy was born, roughly three years ago. The father, Jake Strickland, says that the boy’s biological mother, the adoption agency and the adoptive parents all conspired to conduct a secretive and illegal adoption that deprived him of access to his son.

Strickland met Whitney Demke back in 2009 and the two dated for several months before breaking up prior to the boy’s birth in December 2010. Strickland says he knew about the child and that the two had remained on friendly terms despite the breakup. He says that they had discussed the issue of custody and that both agreed to share custody of the child as he got older. Strickland also says he gave Demke money whenever she needed it and had planned on naming him Jack.

Despite the seemingly positive mood, Demke placed the child up for adoption the day after he was born. Strickland says he was not informed about the adoption until a week after it was over. Days after the revelation, Demke admitted to having planned the adoption for months, deciding that the boy would be better off in the hands of a more stable and financially grounded couple.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What are my custody rights if the other parent moves?”

The Ohio couple that generated a lot of attention for giving up the 9-year-old adopted son they had raised since infancy is back in the news as court records reveal additional information about what took place prior to the child’s surrender.

Court Gavel Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Child Custody Adoption Attorney.jpgDocuments filed with the Butler County Common Pleas Court say that the mother, Lisa Cox, believed the boy was a genuine danger to the family’s safety and that she felt she had no choice but to surrender the child. Lisa and her husband, Cleveland Cox, both pled not guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of nonsupport of a dependent.

Prosecutors in Butler County who are handling the case say that Lisa and Cleveland left the boy with the county’s children’s services office after he began displaying aggressive behavior, including threatening family members with a knife. The boy was dropped off at the children’s services office with a bag containing some clothes and a handwritten letter from Lisa saying that she loved him and that he would never be forgotten.

Prosecutors say, shockingly, the boy did not know he was going to be given up, and that he was only told that he was going to a hospital where they would fix what was wrong with him. He did not realize that once he left he would never be returning home. Prosecutors say Lisa’s note included mention of how it broke her heart to hand him back to child welfare authorities and said she was praying that God would provide the boy the “perfect family” to show him love.

National experts on adoptions say that the case of the Cox family is a very unusual one given that the boy was adopted as an infant. Experts say that it is extremely rare in such cases for an adoption to fall apart. Instead, most cases of family discord occur when children are adopted at older ages and then try to assimilate into their new families.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Does adultery affect who gets custody?”

The Baby Veronica battle rages on in Oklahoma as a spokesperson with the Oklahoma Courts said the two sets of parents are currently in the midst of a lengthy mediation over the future of the young girl. In fact, reports says that the mediation sessions have continued running well past the courthouse’s normal closing time, all efforts to ensure that the matter is wrapped up as quickly as possible.

Gavel Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Child Support Custody Attorney Lawyer.jpgThe media has been in the dark most of this week about what has gone on in the case, with no comments being released by either side. Though it is now known that mediation is ongoing, it is not clear how much progress is being made. Both sides are currently under strict gag orders and are prevented from speaking to members of the media.

Reports indicate that the two groups have spent the past four days negotiating in a room in the Court of Civil Appeals building in downtown Tulsa. Previous statements by Matt and Melanie Capobianco indicate that the adoptive parents, who were awarded custody by South Carolina family law courts, have said that they wanted Veronica’s biological father Dusten Brown to be a part of the girl’s life. For their part, a friend of the Brown family recently said that the family had suggested sending Veronica to South Carolina for the summer to live with the Capobiancos so long as she could stay in Oklahoma during the school year.

The case is a sad one and difficult for both sides given that the Capobiancos raised Veronica in South Carolina for the first two years of her life. Since then, Brown has had Veronica with him and his new wife in Oklahoma for the last two years. Experts say that given how emotional the case has become it is likely that neither group will leave the mediation completely satisfied. However, the goal of the mediation is to produce a solution that both groups can live with.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

It finally looks like the sad case of the adopted girl from South Carolina might be coming to a conclusion. According to a recent report by the Associated Press, the father of Baby Veronica has turned himself into authorities in Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation Emblem Charlotte North Carolina Divorce Family Law Alimony Lawyer Attorney.jpgDusten Brown, the biological father of the three-year-old girl at the center of a recent Supreme Court case has turned himself into authorities while his daughter remains with family members in the area. Brown surrendered himself on Monday after having been charged over the weekend with custodial interference and a warrant was issued for his arrest in the case involving his daughter.

A couple from Charleston, SC, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, have spent the last 18 months fighting to have the girl returned to them after Brown won custody in 2011. Brown successfully used the Indian Child Welfare Act to reassert his parental rights after initially voluntarily signing them away.

Authorities say Veronica is currently in the care of Brown’s parents and Brown’s wife. The three individuals were recently named temporary guardians of the girl by a Cherokee Nation court. Brown, who is 2 percent Cherokee, asserted his heritage in his child custody fight with the Capobiancos, a ploy that was recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was remanded to South Carolina where the Capobiancos were affirmed as Veronica’s rightful parents and Brown was ordered to return the girl as part of a gradual transition process that is aimed at reintroducing the toddler to the Capobiancos. So far, Brown has refused to participate.

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