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Adoption and Other Considerations for Same-Sex Couples

Expanding your family is often an exciting time. When it’s not possible for one or both parents to be biologically related to a child, adoption or assisted reproduction allows couples to bring a child into their family.

Although same-sex couples are allowed to adopt or birth children in the state of New York, the adoption or assisted reproduction process can be long and emotional. There are also certain legal considerations that most opposite-sex couples do not face.

Marital presumption and assisted reproduction

New York’s marital presumption—which presumes that both spouses are the parent of a child born during a marriage—was extended to same-sex couples in 2017, and codified in the New York Child-Parent Security Act in February 2021. This helps anyone conceiving a child through assisted reproduction, such as using a surrogate or donor eggs, sperm or embryos create a legal relationship with their children.

Orders of parentage

If one partner is not genetically related to or gestating the child, they can create a legal relationship to their child through an order of parentage. These are used when a biological or gestating parent jointly planned assisted reproduction with their partner, with the intention that they both be parents to the baby.

LGBTQ adoption

LGBTQ couples are allowed to adopt children in New York, just like opposite-sex couples—even if they’re unmarried. In 2010, New York amended their domestic relations laws to allow unmarried same-sex partners to adopt children too: “[A]ny two unmarried adult intimate partners together may adopt another person…An adult or minor married couple together may adopt a child of either of them born in or out of wedlock and an adult or minor spouse may adopt such a child of the other spouse.”

This allows same-sex partners to adopt their partner’s existing children, too, so long as the other biological parent’s rights have been terminated which can often be achieved by consent of the natural parent or by the natural parent’s abandonment of the child.

Adoption and assisted reproduction can be legally complex. Talk to the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP for assistance today.