Adoption Requirements in New York

For many couples and single individuals, adoption may be the ideal option for starting or growing their families. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), as of September 30, 2017, there are 123,437 children and teens in foster care in the U.S. who are waiting to be adopted. 

For individuals interested in adopting a child or teen, it is important that they familiarize themselves with New York regulations and laws regarding adoption, including types of adoptionsand special requirements for adoptive parents. Adoption laws and regulations can be complex and difficult to navigate, so it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced New York adoption lawyer.

What is adoption?
Adoption is the legal process in which an individual assumes the parental responsibility of another, usually a child or teen, from that person’s legal or biological parent or parents or other agency caring for the child. In doing so, an adoptive parent incurs all legal rights and responsibility for the adoptee (child) as if he or she were his or her natural parent. The legal relationship results in the adoptee becoming the legal heir of the adoptive parent and also terminates the legal rights that are then in existence with the legal or biological parent or parents or other agency. 

Who can adopt in New York?
While some states have requirements for who may adopt, any adult may adopt in New York State who is cleared via an in-depth background chec. If the individual who is seeking to adopt is married, then his or her spouse generally must adopt the child or teen as well. New York State does not have restrictions on the gender of adopting parents and same-sex couples or individuals may adopt as well.

In some circumstances, a minor can adopt. For instance, if a minor is married, he or she may adopt because marriage usually emancipates the minor and gives them many legal rights that an adult might have. A single minor may have the ability to adopt another single minor in some circumstances. This is usually most common when an older sibling is near the age of adulthood and would like to adopt a younger sibling.

Is there a New York residency requirement prior to adoption? 
Yes, New York requires that an individual or individuals looking to adopt must live in the state for at least three months prior to the finalization of the adoption. Individuals looking to adopt may start the process before they meet the three-month requirement. In some circumstances, a judge may waive the residency requirement.

Do I need the consent of the child or teen prior to the adoption?
Children who are 14 years old and older must give their consent prior to the adoption.

When looking to adopt a child or teen there are many laws and regulations to take into consideration. Those looking to adopt should seek the guidance of an experienced New York adoption lawyerwho can advise them of their legal rights and guide them through the adoption process.  Heather A. Fig is an experienced Suffolk County adoption lawyer who has successfully navigated many clients through the adoption process. With a family law office located conveniently in Bayport, Long Island, New York, Heather A. Fig is available to represent Long Island residents with their family law needs. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (631) 491-6111.

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