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New York Adoption Laws

Regulations and laws regarding adoption, including who may adopt and special requirements for adoptive parents, are fairly uniform among states. New York adoption laws require the consent of children 14 and older -- that age will vary by a few years from state to state. But since adoption is such a complicated (and important) process, you should probably contact an attorney for assistance.

Persons Eligible for Adoption in New York State

New York does not place limits on who may be adopted. This means that adults may adopt each other. Before same sex marriage was legalized in New York, one option for same sex couples was adoption, because this gave them some legal rights afforded to other family members, and gave them inheritance rights as well.

Who may adopt in New York?

Some states have requirements for who may adopt. Generally, in New York, any adult may adopt. If the adopting parent is married, both spouses must adopt the child, unless the spouses are legally separated by a court decree, or have been separated for at least three years. New York does not have restrictions on the genders of the adopting parents, and same sex adoption is an option for singles and spouses.

Minors may also adopt, under a few circumstances. Minors that are married have the capacity to adopt, because marriage usually emancipates the minor, and gives them many of the rights any other adult would have. In certain circumstances, a single minor may adopt another single minor. This is most common when one sibling that is near the age of adulthood adopts a younger sibling.

How long must a person live in New York before adopting?

New York has a residency requirement of three months before adopting. This means that would-be adopting parents must live in the state for three months before the adoption is finalized. However, this does not prevent the soon-to-be parents from beginning the adoption process sooner, before they meet the three month residency requirement.

Below are some highlights of New York adoption laws.

Code Section Dom. Rel. §109-117; Yes
Who May Be Adopted Any person
Age that Child's Consent Needed 14 years and older.
Who May Adopt Adult unmarried person or adult spouses together unless legally separated pursuant to decree or for at least 3 yrs. prior to filing. Adult or minor spouses, together or separately, may adopt child either born in or out of wedlock.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption? 3 months; may be waived by judge
State Agency/Court As defined by social services law/Family
Statute of Limitations to Challenge Not specified.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Codes and Court Of Appeals Decisions

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about New York's adoption laws, click on the following links:

Get Legal Help to Better Understand New York Adoption Laws

If you're considering adoption, or would like to know more about the requirements to adopt in New York, consult with adoption lawyer in your area, who may be able to help. In addition to letting you know if you qualify for adoption, the attorney may also be able to help you resolve any legal issues that are preventing you from adopting.

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