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Adoption eligibility in New York

In comparison to some other states, New York has very flexible laws concerning who is eligible to adopt or be adopted. If you are considering adoption, the following sections can help you determine the circumstances that warrant eligibility to adopt in New York.

Who may adopt?

  • A single adult
  • Unmarried adult intimate partners (jointly)
  • Married couples (jointly)
  • An adult married person who has legally separated from his or her spouse or who has been living separately from his or her spouse for three years or more
  • Minors that are emancipated
  • Minors near the age of adulthood adopting a younger sibling may be eligible (depending on the opinion of the court)

Who may be adopted?

Generally, New York does not impose limits on who may be adopted. Even adults may adopt each other. However, there are laws surrounding the circumstances in which consent must be given in order for a child or adult to be adopted.

When is the consent to adopt required?

Because there are many different circumstances that can make adoption possible, the consent required to adopt a child may depend on a number of factors, such as the martial status of the child's parents and the age of the child. The following situations require the consent from the corresponding party:

  • Parents or surviving parent of a child conceived or born during marriage
  • The mother of a child born to unmarried parents
  • The father of a child born to unmarried parents if the father has had substantial, continuous contact with his child
  • The father of a child born to unmarried parents when the child is placed for adoption at the age of six months or younger, if the father:
    • Lived with the child or the child's mother for six consecutive months immediately prior to placing the child for adoption
    • Paid for the medical, hospital and nursing expenses during the pregnancy and/or birth
  • A person or authorized agency that has lawful custody of the child
  • The child being adopted if he or she is 14 years or older

When is parental consent to adopt not required?

There are a few circumstances that might revoke the necessary consent of a parent or person having custody of the child. The following circumstances do not require the consent to adopt by a parent who has custody of the child:

  • Failure to visit and communicate with the child for six months, although able to do so
  • Surrender of the child to an authorized agency
  • Presently and for the foreseeable future unable to properly care for the child due to mental illness or insufficient mental capacity

For more information about adoption, contact an attorney that's familiar with adoption law in New York. A lawyer can help guide you through the laws, qualifications and processes surrounding adoption, so you can focus on preparing for the new addition to your family.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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