48-1-106. Legal effect of decree of adoption.

(a) A decree of adoption effects a complete substitution of families for all legal purposes after the entry of the decree.

(b) A decree of adoption establishes the relationship of parent and child between each petitioner and the individual being adopted. From the date of the signing of the decree, the adoptee is entitled to inherit real and personal property by, through, and from the adoptive parents in accordance with the statutes on intestate succession and has the same legal status, including all legal rights and obligations of any kind whatsoever, as a child born the legitimate child of the adoptive parents.

(c) A decree of adoption severs the relationship of parent and child between the individual adopted and that individual's biological or previous adoptive parents. After the entry of a decree of adoption, the former parents are relieved of all legal duties and obligations due from them to the adoptee, except that a former parent's duty to make past-due payments for child support is not terminated, and the former parents are divested of all rights with respect to the adoptee.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, neither an adoption by a stepparent nor a readoption pursuant to G.S. 48-6-102 has any effect on the relationship between the child and the parent who is the stepparent's spouse.

(e) In any deed, grant, will, or other written instrument executed before October 1, 1985, the words "child", "grandchild", "heir", "issue", "descendant", or an equivalent, or any other word of like import, shall be held to include any adopted person after the entry of the decree of adoption, unless a contrary intention plainly appears from the terms of the instrument, whether the instrument was executed before or after the entry of the decree of adoption. The use of the phrase "hereafter born" or similar language in any such instrument to establish a class of persons shall not by itself be sufficient to exclude adoptees from inclusion in the class. In any deed, grant, will, or other written instrument executed on or after October 1, 1985, any reference to a natural person shall include any adopted person after the entry of the decree of adoption unless the instrument explicitly states that adopted persons are excluded, whether the instrument was executed before or after the entry of the decree of adoption.

(f) Nothing in this Chapter deprives a biological grandparent of any visitation rights with an adopted minor available under G.S. 50-13.2(b1), 50-13.2A, and 50-13.5(j). (1949, c. 300; 1953, c. 824; 1955, c. 813, s. 5; 1957, c. 778, s. 5; 1963, c. 967; 1967, c. 619, s. 5; c. 880, s. 3; 1969, c. 21, ss. 3-6; c. 911, s. 6; 1971, c. 1093, s. 13; c. 1231, s. 1; 1973, c. 849, s. 3; c. 1354, s. 5; 1975, c. 91; 1981, c. 657; 1983, c. 30; c. 454, ss. 2, 6; 1985, c. 67, ss. 1-4; c. 575, s. 1; 1989, c. 208; c. 727, s. 219(4); 1993, c. 553, s. 14; 1995, c. 457, s. 2.)