Many families choose to pursue a non-traditional adoption to help secure emotional and legal benefits for themselves. But non-traditional adoptions can have additional steps not found in your typical adoption process. If you have questions about the steps involved in a non-traditional adoption in New York, reach out to The Mandel Law Firm to speak with an experienced member of our legal team.
What Is Non-Traditional Adoption and What Are Its Benefits?
A non-traditional adoption typically refers to adoption proceedings where one current biological or legal parent will retain their parental rights and/or where the adoptee has already reached adulthood. Common examples of non-traditional adoptions include:
- Stepparent adoptions – A stepparent adoption occurs when a stepparent wishes to adopt their partner’s or spouse’s children, and the children’s other biological parent either will not voluntarily relinquish their parental rights or the other biological parent cannot be located.
- Non-biological/second parent adoptions – Second parent adoptions commonly occur in same-sex couple relationships, where one partner is already the biological or legal parent of the child or children to be adopted. In many cases, the other biological parent or parents of the child or children have already had their parental rights terminated, or they have waived any parental rights as part of a sperm/egg donor or surrogacy agreement.
- Adult adoptions – An adult adoption involves the adoption of a person over the age of 18. The adoptee becomes the legal child of the individual adopting them.
Families may pursue a non-traditional adoption for important benefits such as:
- Strengthening an existing family unit
- Recognizing an existing long-term parent-child relationship
- Conferring legal privileges not available without a legal parent-child relationship, including inheritance and health insurance benefits
What Steps Should I Take in a Non-Traditional Adoption?
When you and your family decide to pursue a non-traditional adoption, steps you will need to take include:
- Determine whether an adoption is needed to achieve your family’s emotional, financial, and legal goals. If you encounter unexpected consequences, overturning an adoption is an incredibly complex process, and certain legal rights and relationships will have been irrevocably changed.
- Gather your records, your spouse’s or partner’s records (if applicable), and the records of the adoptee.
- If necessary, contact the adoptee’s other biological or legal parent to obtain their consent to the adoption. Or, if applicable, obtain copies of any surrogacy or donor agreements that include a biological parent’s waiver of their right.
- Prepare and file a petition for adoption with the Family Court or the Surrogate’s Court. If the adoptee is 14 or older, the petition will also need to include their consent to the adoption.
To ensure as smooth an adoption process as possible, you should also speak to a New York family law attorney to help guide you through the process and handle all the complex paperwork and details for you.
How a New York Family Lawyer Can Help
A New York family lawyer from The Mandel Law Firm can help you and your family with a non-traditional adoption process by:
- Explaining your family’s eligibility to pursue adoption and what steps are needed to successfully obtain an adoption order from the court
- Helping you gather any required information or documents that you may need for your adoption petition, including birth records, court orders terminating parental rights, marriage certificates, or surrogacy/donor agreements
- Walking you through required steps in certain non-traditional adoption processes, such as undergoing fingerprinting and a home study if pursuing a stepparent adoption
- Preparing and filing your adoption petition and representing you during all court hearings
If you are considering a non-traditional adoption, you should speak with an experienced New York family lawyer about your legal options and the potential consequences of the adoption. Contact The Mandel Law Firm today at (646) 770-3868 for an initial consultation to discuss how our firm may be able to help.