Unmarried Non-biological Custody/Guardianship

I am not married to my significant other, but I have been the “other parent” to his 9 year old biological son for 6 years, I have my own biological son and we have twin toddlers together. I have “Temporary Guardianship” with no specified end date from our home state of Florida from last year (03/20/2020) when my significant other was incarcerated, as well as Durable Power of Attorney for him. My stepson’s biological mother abandoned him 8 years ago and had her rights terminated by the courts in Florida. We have all relocated to North Carolina in 07/2020, I want to know how I can legally adopt my stepson without legally marrying my significant other, or file for shared custody? Or is my only option to try to file for Temporary Guardianship again in North Carolina (if that is even an option up here)? I am not trying to take custody from my significant other, but he has drug and alcohol addiction and I want to protect my rights and relationship with my stepson as I am his primary caregiver and sole parent involved in all of his medical and educational needs. I want to legally be his mother.

You will need to file a child custody action against the father assuming the minor child has resided in the State of North Carolina for the last 6 months. As a parent figure to the child and who has been the primary caregiver and has acted significantly like a parent, you are entitled to file a custody action.

The judge is required to award custody to the person(s) that will best promote the minor child’s best interests.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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