Basic Adoption Laws
Generally, any adult may adopt any other individual in New York, according to New York Domestic Relations Law §110. For example, an unmarried individual may adopt another individual, as may any two unmarried intimate partners. However, if the person wishing to adopt is married, then both spouses must adopt together unless they have been separated for three years or more.
Additionally, in certain situations, minors may adopt an individual as well. Under NYDRL §110, a minor married couple may adopt a child born to either of them. Similarly, a minor spouse may adopt a previous child of their spouse.
Consent in Adoptions
New York State law mandates that an individual being adopted must consent to the adoption if they are fourteen years of age or older, according to NYDRL §111. Additionally, if the person being adopted is a minor child under eighteen years of age, the following individuals must also consent to the adoption:
- Both biological parents, if the child was born in wedlock
- The biological mother, if the child was born out of wedlock
- The biological father, if the child was born out of wedlock and if the father maintained substantial and repeated contact with the child
Regular contact with the child may include monthly visits or regular support payments. However, NYDRL §111 stipulates that infrequent or occasional contact does not give a parent of a child born out of wedlock the right to block an adoption.
Additionally, any agency or organization with current custody of the child must consent to the adoption, as per NYDRL §111. An adoption lawyer in Albany can provide more information on which types of consent may be required before an adoption may be finalized.
Foreign Adoption Orders
Albany courts generally permit adoption orders from foreign jurisdictions, including foreign countries, under NYDRL §111-C. Such an adoption order has the same legal force as an adoption carried out under New York State law. However, both of the following conditions must be met:
- Either of the adopting parents must be a resident of New York
- The validity of the foreign adoption must be confirmed through an immigrant visa for the child
If you require more information on foreign adoptions and how to execute such adoptions in New York, you can benefit from contacting an Albany adoption attorney as soon as possible.