Stepparent Adoption in New York | What to Know

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Stepparent Adoption in New York | What to Know

If you marry a partner who has children, you will become a stepparent. In some cases, stepparents adopt their stepchildren. If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, read on for more information.

Why Adopt Your Stepchild?

There are a number of reasons a stepparent may want to adopt his or her stepchild. A large reason is that stepparents don’t have very many parental rights, so adoption allows them the same rights as biological parents. This means that you will be able to make important decisions about the child’s life, involving things like healthcare, education, and religion. Another reason a stepparent may choose to adopt his stepchild is that the child’s biological parent is incarcerated or institutionalized. But, it is important to note that in cases like this, a court tends to prefer a blood relative be the child’s guardian.

What are the Requirements in New York?

If you are considering adopting your stepchild, you will have to meet a few requirements. These requirements include:

  • Both biological/ legal parents of the child must consent to the adoption unless the court finds that the other parent’s consent is not legally required. This will depend on many factors, such as whether the non-custodial parent is named on the child’s birth certificate and the extent to which he or she has taken physical, emotional and financial responsibility for the child. For the most part, a New York court will only terminate parental rights if evidence of neglect or abuse is found.
  • A child over 14 years old must consent to the stepparent adoption and be present at the adoption hearing.

What is the Process of Stepparent Adoption in New York??

If the above requirements are met and you are able to adopt your stepchild, you will have to go through an adoption process. You will want to retain the help of a family law attorney. The adoption process will likely involve a background check. You will need to be fingerprinted and cleared through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Additionally, there will be an adoption hearing.  When the adoption is complete, the law views the stepparent as the biological and legal parent of the stepchild, with the same parental rights and obligations of any biological parent.

While adopting a stepchild can be a wonderful decision and greatly strengthen the bond between you and your stepchild, it tends to be a difficult process. For this reason, you will want to retain the help of a skilled family law lawyer. Contact our firm to discuss your options.

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I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

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I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

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After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

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I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

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