Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - North Carolina

Date:

Definitions

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 14-321.2

As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

  • 'Minor child' means a child younger than age 18, including an adopted minor child.
  • 'Parent' means a biological parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian.
  • 'Relative' means the child's other parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult sibling, aunt, uncle, first cousin, great-aunt, great-uncle, great-grandparent, or a parent's first cousin.
  • 'Unlawful transfer of custody' means the transfer of physical custody of a minor child, in willful violation of applicable adoption law or by grossly negligent omission in the care of the child, by the child's parent, without a court order or other authorization under law, to a person other than a relative or another individual having a substantial relationship with the child. Compensation in the form of money, property, or other item of value is not required for an unlawful transfer of custody to occur.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 14-321.2

It shall be unlawful for a person to do any of the following:

  • To effect or attempt to effect an unlawful transfer of custody of that parent's minor child
  • To accept or attempt to accept custody pursuant to an unlawful transfer of custody of a minor child, except that it shall not be unlawful for a person to receive custody of a child from a parent who intends to effect an unlawful transfer of custody of that parent's minor child if the person promptly notifies law enforcement or child protective services in the county where the child resides or is found and promptly makes the child available to law enforcement or child protective services
  • To advertise, recruit, or solicit, or to aid, abet, conspire, or seek the assistance of another to advertise, recruit, or solicit the unlawful transfer of custody of a minor child

Exceptions

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 14-321.2

Unlawful transfer of custody does not include any of the following:

  • Placement of a minor child with a prospective adoptive parent in substantial compliance with the applicable adoption laws of this State or of another State
  • Placement of a minor child in accordance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children or the Intercountry Adoption Act
  • Temporary transfer of physical custody of a minor child to an individual with a prior substantial relationship with the child for a specified period of time due to any of the following:
    • The child's medical, mental health, educational, or recreational needs
    • The parent's inability to provide proper care or supervision for the minor child, which may be due to the parent's incarceration, military service, employment, medical treatment, incapacity, or other voluntary or involuntary absence
  • Transfer of physical custody of a minor child to a relative
  • Temporary transfer of physical custody of a minor child to a behavioral health facility or other health-care provider, an educational institution, or a recreational facility by a parent for a specified period of time due to the child's medical, mental health, educational, or recreational needs
  • A voluntary foster care placement of the minor child made pursuant to an agreement between the minor child's parent and a county Department of Social Services

Consequences

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 14-321.2

Any person who commits an offense under this section is guilty of a class A1 misdemeanor. Any person who commits an offense under this section that results in serious physical injury to the child is guilty of a class G felony.