Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions - North Carolina



Citation: Gen. Stat. § 48-2-100

Adoption shall be by a special proceeding before the clerk of the superior court.

Jurisdiction over adoption proceedings exists if, at the commencement of the proceeding the following applies:

  • The adopted person has lived in this State for at least the 6 consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the petition or from birth, and the prospective adoptive parent is domiciled in this State.
  • The prospective adoptive parent has lived in or been domiciled in this State for at least the 6 consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
  • An agency licensed by the State or county Department of Social Services has legal custody of the adopted person.

The courts of this State shall not exercise jurisdiction under this chapter if at the time the petition for adoption is filed, a court of any other State is exercising jurisdiction substantially in conformity with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. However, this subsection shall not apply and the courts of this State may exercise jurisdiction if either of the following apply:

  • The matter in which the other State is exercising jurisdiction places custody of the adoptee in an agency, the petitioner, or another custodian expressly in support of an adoption plan that does not identify a specific prospective adoptive parent other than the petitioner.
  • Prior to the decree of adoption being granted, the court of the other State dismisses its proceeding or releases its exclusive, continuing jurisdiction.


Citation: Gen. Stat. § 48-2-101

A petition for adoption may be filed in the county in which one of the following applies:

  • Where the petitioner lives or is domiciled at the time of filing
  • Where the adopted person lives
  • Where an office of the agency that placed the adopted person is located