Barry believes the process of adopting a child should be a pleasurable experience. That is Barry's starting premise and his ultimate goal when representing clients who seek to adopt.
Adoption creates a legal relationship of parent and child. After the adoption is final, the adoptive parent assumes all of the legal rights and responsibilities for the child that a birth parent would have. The adopted child or children get a new birth certificate showing the adopting parents as the parents of the child.
An adoption proceeding may be instituted in either the Family Court or the Surrogate's Court in the county where the adoptive parent(s) reside. A judge of the Family court or a judge of the Surrogate's court must approve all adoptions by signing an order of adoption. When the judge signs the order of adoption, the relation of parent and child becomes final.
There are four types of adoptions in New York State:
- Agency Adoption – A child placement is made through a agency who has a state license that is authorized by law for the purpose of adoption.
- Private Placement Adoption – Any adoption other than an agency placement. Private placement adoptions may begin with private agreements between the parties. They might involve step parents or other family members. They can also involve people who are not related.
- Step-Parent Adoption – Allow a new spouse to formalize his or her relationship with the child if either the other legal parent consents or is deceased. If the other legal parent is alive and does not consent a court must find grounds to terminate the other parent’s legally recognized relationship to the child to then permit the stepparent to adopt.
- International Adoption – An adoption by a New York resident of children born and living in a foreign country.
Who May Adopt:
- Any adult over 18, whether married or unmarried.
- Married persons residing together.
- A married person may adopt separately if he or she is legally separated from his or her spouse or has been living separately from his or her spouse for more than 3 years.
- Gay men and lesbians.
- Same-sex partners and same-sex spouses may both adopt a child as parents.
- An unmarried partner of the child's birth parents.