Editor’s Note: Welcome! This is the first post of a column that we here at IC are really excited about: Adoption attorney Evita Nancy Torre, Esq., of Greenberg Adoption in Chelsea, answers your legal questions about LGBT parenting in New York. Evita not only frequently volunteers her time at The LGBT Center in Manhattan at the Center Families’ monthly Family Law Clinic, she is active in several other causes throughout her native NYC, including The Children’s Aid Society and She’s the First. All in all, Evita is awesome, friendly, and energized about helping you get the answers you need. So email her a question to be answered, or just check back each month to find out the answers to the questions of your community.
Q: My wife and I live in New York City and are happily expecting our first child (conceived via an anonymous donor). However, I might have to be temporarily transferred to a different state for work. Should I turn down the transfer so that my second-parent adoption will not be jeopardized?
A: Best wishes on a happy and healthy pregnancy to you and your wife! A second-parent adoption remains the only way to guarantee equal parental rights for same-sex partners, and your concern in preserving this legal option is commendable.
As you might already know, a second-parent adoption can not be filed in the court until a child is born. During pregnancy, expectant parents often begin the process of gathering required documents (like individual medical notes, taxes, and past addresses) but certain papers (like reference letters, the home study, and the actual legal documents which contain the child’s first name) can not be drafted until after birth. The court will not accept or docket a partially completed adoption packet.
Since New York is your current residence, you have two options regarding your future second-parent adoption:
1) Depending on where you will be transferred and if your wife and child will also be residing in that state, second-parent adoption may be an option once you meet the individual state’s residency requirements. For an updated list of states allowing second-parent adoption, visit the Family Equality Council’s map.
2) If your wife and child remain in New York, or continue to live primarily in the state, New York law allows an adoption petition to be filed in the county where either the potential adoptive parent lives, or where the adoptive child lives. Depending on the county in which you live, the court may request two home studies (instead of just one): one for your home in New York and one for your home in the new state. This allows the court to examine any home that you offer the child, presuming that the child will visit you in your temporary residence.
For answers to your adoption questions or to set up a free consultation, please visit www.greenbergadoption.com.
Evita Nancy Torre is an adoption attorney with Greenberg Adoption: The Law Offices of Clifford L. Greenberg in New York City. The firm’s founder, Cliff Greenberg, is the resident legal expert at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, and published a children’s book (illustrated by his young daughter) about a girl’s adoption by two loving mothers, “Living the Dream with Mommy and Mama.” Greenberg Adoption hosts The Center’s monthly Family Law Clinic, and exclusively practices adoption law.
Please Note: This article, or its content, does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is about legal issues but it is not intended as legal advice.