the law firm helping children and families for a quarter century


Second-parent and same-sex adoptions

Amid the new frontier of marriage equality and solid confirmation of LGBTQ rights by the courts, it goes without saying that same-sex couples deserve the same opportunities to expand families via adoption.

At the top-tier New York adoption firm of the Law Offices of Clifford L. Greenberg, Cliff's knowledge of evolving statutes during his 25+ years of adoption experience can benefit same-sex couples in all five boroughs and beyond.

Clifford L. Greenberg, Esq., is the skilled, compassionate lawyer in charge of the adoption practice. Throughout your tour of the legal process, Mr. Greenberg will familiarize you with the way same-sex adoption procedures proactively address decision-making, custody, visitation and a child's right to financial support.

Step-parent adoption

When a biological parent remarries, the family often wants the new husband or wife to adopt the child. The other biological parent can consent and this makes the process easier to pursue – but if he or she does not, legal measures must be taken to terminate parental rights, thereby legally freeing the child for adoption.

If your stepchild's biological parent is no longer alive, you can become his or her legal parent through a fairly straightforward legal process.

If your stepchild's biological parent is alive, the biological parent would have to surrender parental rights, including child custody and visitation rights. The biological parent would then be released from his or her responsibility of paying child support. 

If the biological parent is unwilling to surrender his or her parental rights, the case would need to be litigated in Family or Surrogate's Court as part of the adoption process.

If the child is 14 years or older, he or she needs to consent to the adoption.

These are the cornerstones of New York stepparent adoption law. The law firm you choose when pursuing or contesting a stepparent adoption should know these statues and how to pursue each and every avenue on the road to a successful stepparent adoption – and we do. 

International adoptions

International adoption involves the individual parent (or couple) looking to adopt, and the court of the country in which the child currently resides. In order to successfully execute an international adoption and bring a child to the United States, prospective parents must adhere to the requirements set by the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the foreign country where the child currently lives, and sometimes the adoptive parents' state of residence.

There are three general processes within international adoptions that Mr. Greenberg will ensure to go over in full detail with all prospective parents if they choose to embark on the honorable journey of adopting internationally:

  1. Hague Process: The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international treaty that provides important safeguards to protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions. If you are adopting a child whose country belongs to the Hague Adoption Convention, you will use the Hague Process.
  2. Orphan Process: You will use this process if adopting a child from a "non-Hague" country. There are many restrictions to this process, a few of them being that at least one of the prospective parents must physically visit the child before the process and you must file the petition before the child's 16th birthday.
  3. Immediate Relative Petition: This process is available to a select few who do not qualify for either of the two options listed above. The immediate relative petition considers the adopted child to be the child of the adopting parent for immigration purposes if certain requirements are met. 

Adult adoption

Most adoption cases involve children under the age of 18. However, there is no legal limit on the age at which someone can be adopted in New York. There are a number of reasons why an individual or couple may wish to pursue legal adoption of an adult adoptee.

Every family dynamic is unique. In some cases, adults with physical or mental limitations may benefit from an adoption. In other words, adults simply wish to be adopted by loving parents, who did not adopt them when they were children. If you are looking to adopt an adult in your family, contact our New York City adult adoption attorneys. We offer free initial consultations so there is no risk in finding out about the legal options available to your family.

We are experienced at helping clients explore the options available to protect their loved one's best interests. We have experience helping clients with all types of adult adoptions including the following:

  • Mental or physical incapacity: When an adult has become mentally or physically incapacitated, his or her caretaker may wish to consider pursuing an adoption. This would reflect a more intimate relationship than the alternative option of legal guardianship.
  • Foster child adoption: When a child has been brought into a family through foster care but has not been formally adopted before his or her 18th birthday, his or her foster parents may wish to formalize the relationship through an adoption.
  • Recognition of a close relationship: Families come in all shapes and sizes. It is not uncommon for unrelated adults to form child-parent bonds. In some cases, it is beneficial for people who have formed these bonds to go through the formal adoption process.

We have handled more than 4,000 adoptions and have seen an incredibly wide range of circumstances. We know that no two families are the same. When you call Mr. Greenberg, you can feel confident knowing that he will guide you through the legal system in pursuit of your loved one's best interests. 

Special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status

Children who are undocumented or out of status receive an enormous benefit from being granted Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status. In order for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow an adjustment of status, a court with jurisdiction over the child must make findigns of fact called "Special Findings." The Special Findings order issued by the court is the necessary first step for the child to apply for SIJ status through USCIS. The request for a Special Findigns order is often made in the context of an adoption or guardianship proceeding, and Cliff Greenberg can do all of that work for you.

The SIJ status program was created by USCIS to help foreign children in the U.S. who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents or guardians. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status allows the child to remain in the United States legally. In many cases, the child will also be adopted by a guardian or relative who is a United States citizen. Call Mr. Greenberg for a free consultation. We are here to help you.