When you work with my firm, you can be confident that your case is in good hands. I have been serving the Bronx area since 1989, and I am proud to have an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the various New York and federal laws governing family law matters and divorce. If you are considering filing a petition for a family law concern, do not hesitate to retain me as your adoption lawyer in New York.
New York Adoption and Guardianship Lawyer
Trusted Legal Guidance for Adoptive Parents and Guardians
Welcoming a new child into the family should be a wonderful time in your life and cause for celebration. If you are looking to adopt or become a legal guardian of a minor, do not let the laws and court system intimidate you.
At The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend, I stand ready to provide my clients with outstanding representation and dedicated legal services in their times of need. For over 30 years, I have provided trusted family law representation to clients throughout the Bronx area.
You can count on me to help get the job done quickly and efficiently. As a skilled lawyer in the Bronx, I will put my all into making sure that your rights and your future child's rights are protected.
How a Guardianship / Adoption Lawyer Can Help
When you work with the Bronx adoption lawyer at my firm, I will help you determine your eligibility to adopt and assist you with completing all the steps necessary to successfully welcome a child into your home.
You can rely on my representation and counsel to guide you through:
- Completing all necessary applications and paperwork
- Obtaining medical history and background checks
- Home inspections
- Caseworker meetings and child visitations
- Petitions to adopt and finalizations with the local Bronx family law court
Contact my guardianship and adoption law firm online to get started with a consultation.
Becoming a Legal Guardian in New York
In some cases, minor children need to be placed in the care of a legal guardian.
What Is Legal Guardianship?
Guardians are often members of the child's immediate or extended family, but sometimes an agency or foster family can obtain guardianship.
According to the law, guardians take full responsibility for the child's well-being, which includes:
- Medical care
If you are looking to become a legal guardian, or if you have been named a guardian in a will or trust, then you need to work with a New York guardianship attorney to file a petition for guardianship.
The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend can assist you with filing the necessary documents with the family court. My firm can also provide you with counsel at the guardianship hearing.
Adoption in New York
Who Can Adopt?
In the state of New York, any individual over the age of 18 who proves to be a fit and consenting adult may be eligible to adopt a child. There are no restrictions related to marital status, income, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, or immigration and citizenship status.
That means you can adopt a child regardless of whether you are:
- A single unmarried person
- An unmarried couple
- A married couple
- Married but legally separated from your spouse
- Married but have lived apart from your spouse for no less than 3 years
In some circumstances, minors may adopt other minors. An example would be when an emancipated minor adopts their younger sibling.
Eligibility to Adopt
While anyone has the right to adopt, there are certain eligibility requirements.
For one, adoptive parents must pass a thorough background check to ensure a clean criminal record.
Adoption agencies and biological/birth parents will also have their own screening processes for adoptive families.
Adoption Home Study
You will also need to complete home study to adopt a child.
This is an intensive process in which a licensed professional (such as a social worker) verifies that you are suitable to adopt a child. The social worker will visit your home, interview you and your family, and more. You will also need to submit all sorts of documents, from income verification to tax returns.
Please note: New York requires adoptive families to complete at least two interviews for home study.
Types of Adoption in New York
There are two main types of adoption: agency adoption and private-placement adoption.
An adoption attorney can help you figure out which is the best for you and your family.
Agency adoption includes those that go through both private adoption agencies and the foster care system.
Foster Care Adoption
If you decide to adopt a child in foster care, you will need to meet that foster care agency’s requirements as well as the state’s.
The foster care agency may need to file a petition to the court if the birth parents have yet to give up their parental rights.
Adoption Through a Private Agency
Private adoption agencies typically already have the parental rights sorted out, which means you will only need to apply to adopt the child. You won’t have to file a petition with the court to terminate the rights of the birth parents.
Also known as an “independent adoption,” private-placement adoption doesn’t go through an adoption agency.
Private-placement adoption includes:
- Adoption by a relative: When a family member adopts relatives, such as aunts and uncles adopting nieces and nephews, and the like.
- Stepparent adoption: Also known as “co-parent adoption,” this is when someone adopts their partner’s biological child so that they share parental rights.
- International adoption: When a person adopts a child from outside the United States (not a domestic adoption). This is considered a private-placement adoption even if you go through an adoption agency based in another country.
Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption
What Is an Open Adoption?
Open adoption is when the biological parent(s) have contact with the adoptive parent(s). In some cases, the biological parent(s) may be heavily involved in finding an adoptive family for their child. It is not the same as co-parenting.
Every open adoption is different. Some are done through an adoption agency, while others are private placements.
The basic criteria for an open adoption are:
- Sharing of identifying information, such as names, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Having the right to contact the child, ranging from pictures and letters to phone calls and in-person visits.
What Is a Closed Adoption?
In a closed adoption, the biological and adoptive parents have little contact with each other. Just like open adoptions, these adoptions may be done through an agency or private placement.
Closed adoption is not a completely hands-off approach. Under state law, birth parents may still be heavily involved in choosing the adoptive family. They also have a right to choose the hospital plan during the child’s birth, such as who is allowed in the labor and delivery room and who gets to hold the baby first.
Talk to a Bronx Guardianship and Adoption Attorney
Are you ready to move forward with your case? Becoming an adoptive parent or legal guardian does not need to be complicated.
When you work with the Bronx adoption and guardianship lawyer at The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend, you will be treated as an individual with unique needs. I will tailor your case strategy to your own personal goals. I’ll take care to ensure that your family becomes one full, happy, and legal unit as soon as possible.
Contact an adoption and guardianship attorney online today! My firm helps clients in the Bronx and all five boroughs.