Nassau County Adoption
In the state of New York, over 2,000 children are adopted from foster care every year, while another 6,000 wait to be adopted. People adopt children from outside the state, but many right here in Nassau County need homes; on average, children stay 4.3 years in foster care. People adopt for many reasons. One spouse could be infertile or want to legally adopt the other spouse’s child. A man or woman may want to adopt a specific child they love who does not have parents. A couple may want a family but fear passing down a genetic defect. Or perhaps they just want to open their love and their home to a child in need. To be sure everything goes smoothly, it is important for you to consult with a good Nassau County adoption lawyer who has a great deal of experience. They can explain the process and requirements to you, help you put your best foot forward and help you to avoid disappointment.
Everyone who adopts must go through a strict legal procedure, and sometimes there are hurdles. A woman’s new husband may want to adopt her children, but her ex-husband may object. A couple may want to adopt a child from a war-torn country to give them a new life, but immigration regulations here in the U.S. and child welfare laws in the child’s country may present a morass of red tape. If you have never been through an adoption before, you can almost be certain that there will be challenges that did not even occur to you. But one thing is certain. If you are adopting a child, you want it to be final with no possibility of another party bring up child custody issues down the road. An experienced lawyer can look out for your interests.How to Adopt in Nassau County
If you would like to adopt in the state of New York, you can work with an agency or adopt privately. If you adopt through an agency, the agency has custody of the child you are considering adopting. This does not necessarily mean that the parents are dead. The parents may have given up their parental rights, because they could not take care of the child, or a court could have terminated parental rights because the parents neglected or abused the child. A private adoption involves an agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. This could be a family matter or it might involve strangers. But whether it is an agency or private adoption, it will be overseen by a court which must certify the adoption, so you will need a good adoption attorney in Nassau County.Who May Adopt in the State of New York
Adoption requirements are more flexible than in the past, but the people adopting must be able to give the child a good home. You must also meet these basic eligibility requirements.
- You must be at least 18 years old (21 in some instances).
- You may adopt even if you are unmarried.
- Married and unmarried couples who are cohabitating may adopt no matter their sexual orientation.
- A person who is separated but not yet divorced may adopt as an individual if they have been separated for at least three years.
A child who is up for adoption is not always an orphan. Parents may give a child up for adoption, or they may lose their parental rights by court order. But in all cases, for a child to be eligible for adoption, the parents must lose their parental rights. One of the following events must happen for a child to be eligible for adoption:
- Both parents must agree to the adoption if they are married
- If the parents are not married, but the noncustodial parent has been part of the child’s life, the noncustodial parent must agree as well as the custodial parent. Even if the noncustodial parent has not been part of the child’s life, the court may require that they be informed.
- In the case where a father has not been identified, the court may not require a father’s agreement.
- If a court terminated parental rights, parental consent is not required.
- If a court terminated parental rights, the person or agency who has custody of the child must consent. Your adoption attorney practicing in Nassau County can help you with this.
In addition to the above, if the child is over the age of 14, they must consent to the adoption.
Let’s look at an adoption case where consent was an issue. In Matter of Keyanna AA., 35 A.D.3d 1079(N.Y. App. Div., 2006), a child’s stepfather did not seek the consent of the child’s biological father before petitioning to adopt her. The child’s biological parents had never been married, and the father was serving a term in prison. The biological father had had some contact with the child: he paid child support once, he saw her once and he sent her an occasional greeting card. The child’s mother had married the petitioner in 2001, and since that time the child had lived with her mother and her husband and they had supported her. Due to the minimal contact the biological father had with the child, the court did not require his consent to the stepfather’s adoption.Nassau County Adoption Lawyer
For the best interests of all concerned, and particularly for the best interests of the child, it is important that adoptions are done correctly and go as smoothly as possible. That means you need an experienced Nassau County adoption attorney whether you are adopting privately or through an agency. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience with successfully representing clients who are seeking to adopt children, who have custody issues, and who have other family law matters. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.