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Adoptions

Adoption is a major life decision, and whether you are the birth parent or the adopting parent, we can help. As a birth parent, you want to make sure that your child goes to a good family and that you have support throughout the entire process. As an adopting parent, you want to make sure you make the right choice in adoption. There are many decisions to make and this can be both an emotional and stressful time. We will guide you through every step of the adoption process and help you in every way possible to help make the process a positive one.

For more information, please contact attorney Erica Zeis or Ashlea Palladino at 716-636-7600. HoganWillig has experience in all types of adoptions, including private domestic adoptions and agency assisted adoptions and finalizations. In addition, HoganWillig routinely represents people in adult adoptions, second parent adoptions, step-parent adoptions, foster care adoptions and re-adoptions of international adoptions that were finalized outside of the United States.

Consult our flat rate menu or speak to one of our attorneys regarding fee structures for ant matters not listed.

To contact one of our attorneys with any questions please call us at 716.636.7600 or message our Department Chair by clicking here. All inquiries and consultation are confidential.

Adoption Frequently Asked Questions

Does a child really become mine when I adopt them?

Yes, adoption establishes all rights and duties to adoptive parents as if they were the biological parents of the child.  An adopted child can inherit property from his or her new parents, receive care from them, and becomes a loved and cared for child, just like a biological child. 

Who can adopt a child?

  • Any adult married couple.
  • Any unmarried adult.
  • Adult unmarried persons together, under limited circumstances. (There must be a valid parent-child relationship).
  • An adult married person living separately from his/her spouse pursuant to:
  1. A decree or judgment of separation.
  2. Written separation agreement. (Note: the other spouse will have no legal rights or responsibilities relative to the adoptive child.)

When can a child be adopted?

A child may be adopted under three circumstances: (1) if both parents have passed away; (2) the parent-child relationship with both parents has been terminated; or (3) if a step-parent wants to adopt a child and biological parent's rights have been terminated.

When can a stepchild be adopted?

A step-parent may adopt a child if the child is at least two-years-old; the  parent-child relationship has been terminated with the other parent; and the step-parent has had possession of the child for at least six months (if the other parent consents to adoption) or at least 12 months, if the other parent does not consent to adoption.

How are a parent's rights terminated?

A parent may have their rights terminated if the court determines it is in the best interest of the child.  The court must also determine that the parent has either abandoned the child, was imprisoned for greater than two years, neglected the child, abused the child, failed to pay child support for greater than one year, uses drugs, or is mentally ill.

Must the child give his consent to be adopted?

A child over 14 years of age must give his or her consent to be adopted unless the court finds it in his or her best interest. In this case, no other individuals consent will be required. 

How long does adoption generally take?

It depends upon the circumstances. Some adoptions take place within a short period of time while others can take over a year. Most courts will try to expedite adoption proceedings to shorten the process.

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