Olsinski Law Firm team

Additional Family Law Matters

While separation and divorce are typically the first thoughts of what family law attorneys handle, the attorneys at the Olsinski Law Firm are experienced and skilled in “all things family,” which include additional matters such as name changes, adoptions and adult incompetency and guardianships. If your legal concern involves a family member, do not hesitate to contact us to see if we can help!

Name Change

Under north carolina law, a person may change their name “for good cause shown and for good and sufficient Reasons.” whether a person meets that standard is determined by the clerk of the superior court. An application For a name change must be submitted to the clerk after giving 10 days’ notice by publication “at the courthouse Door”. Proof of good character is also required to change the name of anyone over the age of 16.

Normally parties may only change their name once, unless they wish to resume their former name. Both parents of a child must consent to change a child’s name, unless the child is 16 years of age, in which case only the consent of the custodial parent is required if the other parent has abandoned the child. If a court has previously adjudicated a parent as having abandoned a child then that parent’s consent is not required at all.

Persons Widowed – May resume the use of her maiden name or of a prior deceased husband or a previously divorced husband in the case of a widow, or a premarriage surname in the case of a widower.

Order - The order issued by the clerk changing the name is forwarded to the state registrar of vital statistics. In the case of persons born in north carolina, the state registrar notes the change of name on the person’s birth certificate and notifies the register of deeds in that person’s county of birth. In the case of persons born outside north carolina, the state registrar forwards a notice of name change to the registration office of the state of birth.

Guardianship of Incompetent Adults

You may have an adult loved one who you feel can no longer make decisions or handle their affairs. Guardianship is a legal relationship in which a guardian is authorized by the clerk of the superior court to be a substitute decision-maker for an incompetent adult (The ward). While the guardian is not required to support the ward, the guardian may have the authority to make decisions in most areas of the ward’s life, including:

  • Where the Ward Will Live, Including a Group or Nursing Home if needed.
  • Consenting to Medical, Dental, Legal or Psychological Services for the Ward.
  • Arranging for Training, Education, Employment or Rehabilitation of the Ward.
  • Management of the Ward’s Income and property.

Incompetence is determined in a court proceeding and if the fact finder determines the ward is unable to manage his or her own affairs, or is unable to make important decisions.

Types of guardians the types of guardians include guardian of the person, guardian of the estate, and general guardian. Each has different duties and obligations and the type of guardianship you seek should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney.

How do I become a guardian? Guardianship is sought by filing a written request with the clerk of the superior court alleging that the adult (The respondent) Is incompetent and requesting to be appointed as the respondent’s guardian. The clerk then sets a date and time for the incompetency hearing. That hearing may be preceded by medical, psychological, social work, or other evaluations of the respondent. If the respondent doesn’t have an attorney, the clerk may assign one to represent the respondent only.

Guardianship requests and incompetency hearings involve significant evidentiary and legal complexities, and should be handled by an attorney.


Adoption is the process by which one person assumes legal responsibility and the particular obligations of a parent to another, usually a minor child. The most common type of adoption is stepparent adoption, whereby a stepparent adopts his or her spouse’s minor child. Another common type of adoption is third party adoption, such as by grandparents or neighbors, who adopt children for whom they have cared as if they were their biological parents. A third type of adoption is foster placement adoption, where the child has been placed with the adopting party by the department of social services. There are many reasons why adoption may or may not be the best route for your family. It can be a straightforward legal process, but can also be rife with complications, especially if contested by biological parents. Adoptions are best handled by attorneys who have extensive experience with the various types of adoption. At the olsinski law firm, your family is in the best hands to navigate you through the adoption process.

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