the law firm helping children and families for a quarter century
Clifford L. Greenberg
Clifford L. Greenberg, Esq. has devoted his entire legal career to helping children and families. After graduating from the George Washington University School of Law, he joined the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Division in Manhattan as a Law Guardian, where he worked tirelessly to ensure that our city's foster children were protected and placed in loving, permanent homes.
Following his time at Legal Aid, Cliff served as counsel to numerous agencies in proceedings to free youth for adoption, and began representing parents in the adoptions of their foster children. Starting in 2011, he has also represented foster parents in Kinship-Guardianship proceedings in all 5 boroughs. To date, he has helped over 4,000 New Yorkers adopt and receive guardianship for the children they love.
Cliff regularly lectures at 20 foster care agencies, as well as at statewide adoption conferences and meetings, including the Administration for Children's Services Circle of Support gatherings, where he educates prospective adoptive parents about the legal process. He is the author of four children's books on adoption and has consistently been recognized for his dedication, most recently by the New York State Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Families Forever Adoption Group, and the Forestdale Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Executive Board.
Who can be an adoptive parent?
In New York, just about anyone over the age of 18 can adopt. One could adopt as a single parent, a married couple, same-sex partners, etc. Aside from certain limitations set regarding those with criminal and child abuse histories, natural parents whose rights have not been terminated have control over whether or not they consent to you adopting their child.
Who can I adopt?
New York permits one to adopt almost anyone. However, the condition for all adoptions is that the relationship created must closely resemble that of a parent and child. As this is the only real limitation, it is possible to adopt an adult, even though the process is different from the adoption of a child under the age of 14.
Can I adopt a child that has not yet been born?
No. New York does not allow consents for adoption to be signed by the natural parents before the child is born. However, you may begin certain parts of the adoption process such as the certification process if you have previously discussed adoption with a biological parent who has not yet given birth, but is pregnant.
Can I still adopt if I have a criminal record?
It depends entirely on the nature of the crime and how long ago it was committed. Child abuse convictions, for example, are always a complete bar to adoption. Even if being reported to authorities for child abuse without any conviction may be problematic if you seek to adopt. For some convictions such as felony convictions for assault or drugs, five years must pass since the conviction before you will be approved.
Do private adoption procedures apply to me if I seek to adopt the child of my husband or wife because I am a step-parent?
Yes, the New York provisions on private adoptions will apply to you, just in modified form. What you are essentially seeking is what is called a step-parent adoption. With a step-parent adoption, the certification process involved in a standard private adoption can also be avoided. Finally, the child must have resided in the home of the biological parent and the step-parent for at least three months before the court will issue the adoption order.
Can I, a partner in a same-sex relationship, adopt the child of my partner?
Yes, New York law permits the adoption of the child of one same sex partner by the other. However, as expected, this process also differs somewhat from the standard private adoption process