Experienced Counsel in Stepparent and Family Adoptions in New Jersey
If you have children and have remarried, there may be significant benefits to having your children legally adopted by their stepparent. Legal adoption may be necessary to make your children eligible for certain work-related benefits, such as health insurance. It can ensure that they will be legal heirs of your spouse’s estate in the event of an untimely death. It can also strengthen your family unit. Before you take steps to bring about a step-parent adoption, you should seek counsel from an experienced adoption lawyer. The attorneys at Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, can help.
At Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, we have extensive experience in adoption matters. We have provided effective adoption counsel to more than 1,500 families in our decades in practice. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky, a Fellow and Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, has also been recognized as an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition for Adoption in Washington, D.C. Attorney Cofsky is AV-rated by his colleagues in the legal profession under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and has been listed as a New Jersey Super Lawyer, and an Awesome Attorney by South Jersey Magazine and a Top Attorney by SJ Magazine.
Stepparent Adoptions in New Jersey
To file for adoption as a stepparent in New Jersey, you must be at least 18 years of age and 10 years older than the child you seek to adopt. Before a stepparent adoption can be finalized, the parental rights of the biological parent [not the custodial parent] must be terminated. This can be done voluntarily or involuntarily. If the biological parent cooperates, you need only file the required documents with the court. However, if the biological parent challenges the termination, you must seek an involuntary termination based on a finding that the noncustodial parent has not performed the duties as a parent and should not be entitled to the rights of parenthood. A judgement of adoption will be granted if the court finds that the parent has either substantially failed to perform or is unable to perform the regular and expected parental functions of the care and support of the child. This is set forth in the New Jersey Statute. NJSA 9:3-46, and includes:
- Failure to perform the regular and expected duties as a parent as sent for in the New Jersey adoption statute
- Domestic violence or physical abuse
- Substance abuse or other illegal activity
Contact Our Offices in Haddonfield, Woodbury or Philadelphia
To learn more about your rights in a stepparent adoption proceeding, call us in Haddonfield, NJ at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury, NJ at (856) 845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia, PA at (215) 563-2150 or by e-mail. Our offices are open weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Weekend and evening appointments may be arranged upon request.