In New Jersey, any person over the age of 18 who is at least ten years older than the child to be adopted, may file for adoption however, many different family structures exist and each brings their own unique set of circumstances to the adoption process. Our team of attorneys are experienced advising clients on single parent adoption, stepparent adoption and second parent adoption as well as same sex and LGBT adoption in New Jersey.
Each adoption process is unique, but they must all follow the appropriate legal steps. You can turn to an experienced adoption attorney at Epstein Ostrove to ensure that each step of your adoption process goes smoothly.
Before your adoption hearing, you’ll go through a pre-placement evaluation. A licensed social worker will dive deep into your family history, resources, and health. This can be an incredibly invasive and anxiety-producing process. We can help you prepare for the questions the social worker will ask and provide reassurance throughout the process.
Agency Adoptions Agency adoptions occur when a child who is to be adopted has been received by the adopting parents from an adoption agency that has been approved by the state. There are many adoption agencies, which we help you determine are right for you. The prospective parents must meet with a caseworker from the agency and have a pre-placement report, or home study, performed. The parents must provide social history, medical history, financial status, and other important information. Once the parents are approved, the agency can match a child with them.
Private Adoptions Investigators must tell you that a report of abuse or neglect has been made, and they’re investigating the claim. They must tell you general information about the nature of the claim report. The investigators must also give you their names and phone numbers and the contact information of their supervisors.
International Adoptions Many parents who adopt a child outside of the United States want to adopt or re-adopt in the United States. Re-Adoption in the United States allows an adoptive parent to obtain a United States birth certificate and a United States Judgment of Adoption. In some countries, the child is placed in the adoptive parent's care and the adoption is finalized in the United States.
Same Sex Couple’s Adoption: New Jersey stands out in its progressiveness in the implementation of the rights of same sex couples to adopt a child. In fact, in December 1997, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to allow gay partners to jointly adopt children on the same basis as married couples.
Prior to that, while some states had allowed gay couples to adopt, the process was a complex and expensive two-step process, in which first one parent was allowed to adopt and then the second can petition for joint rights. This was further complicated by the preference that a “married couple” was presumptively favored over a single parent. Some states at the time, New Hampshire and Florida banned gay couples entirely.
This decision, bold at the time, changed the landscape of adoption for same sex couples and foreshadowed the more enlightened views that guide New Jersey and our country today, on this and other issues, of fairness and equality facing the LBGTQ+ community.
As recently as January of 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law simplifying the adoption process for LGBTQ families.
The law would allows LGBTQ couples who are married or part of a civil union in which one of the members was not a biological parent to seek a judgement of adoption from the courts instead of following a lengthy process to obtain a confirmatory adoption decree.
The previous system required prospective parents to undergo a background check and attend court hearings.
It is important for a co-parent to officially adopt his or her child, even if the co-parent is already in a civil union with or legally married to the child's parent. While many states will recognize and honor a New Jersey civil union or same-sex marriage, other states, without a legal adoption, may prove more resistant. A co-parent may want to officially adopt his or her child to ensure that their parental relationship is valid no matter where in the United States they may travel. For more information, contact Epstein Ostrove today and schedule an adoption consultation with the firm. .
The Epstein Ostrove adoption attorneys can offer you an unbiased explanation of adoption methods, and ensure you have all the right pieces in place to develop a legal and secure adoption plan. Your team of attorneys will reduce the stress you may experience in this process, enabling you to properly prepare to welcome your new adoptive child into your life.
Our adoption lawyers in New Jersey can work with any private agency to ensure that you are well represented, from helping to negotiate terms for post-placement arrangements, to helping you understand this complex process and all your options. Our mission is to provide you with an adoption agreement that meets your expectations.
Adoption is exciting but can often feel overwhelming. If you have questions or concerns about your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced adoption attorneys at Epstein Ostrove today. We are happy to provide you with the support you need every step of the way.