New York State Assembly Grants Adoption Rights to Unmarried Couples

July 21, 2012

Assemblymember Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) has announced that the New York State Assembly has passed Assembly Bill 5652-B, which permits adult, unmarried couples to adopt a child.

“There are so many children in New York State who are waiting to be placed with a loving family,” Assemblymember DenDekker said. “And there are so many couples who are ready, willing, and able to open their homes – and their hearts – to these children. But for too long now, New York State law was too vague and placed so many unnecessary restrictions on adoption agencies that potentially wonderful placement opportunities were overlooked.”

Under present New York State law, an unmarried single person or a husband and wife together are permitted to adopt a child. In addition, the partner of a child’s biological parent who’s raising the child with the child’s biological. However, there’s confusion about whether the law permits a joint adoption by an unmarried adult couple.”

A.5652-B clarifies this legal language, and ensures that unmarried adult couples may jointly adopt a child when neither is the biological parent of the child. Allowing unmarried adult couples to adopt ensures that the child will receive a range of benefits, including Social Security and life insurance benefits, health coverage under both parents’ health insurance, and the right to continue relationships with both parents in the event of separation. Moreover, the legislation removes all references to “husband” and “wife” in favor of the more gender-neutral term, “married couple”. This ensures that all married couples are given equal rights to adopt, regardless of sexual orientation.

“With more and more couples opting not to marry these days, this common sense legislation will greatly expand future adoption prospects for both children and families,” Assemblymember DenDekker concluded. “Once again, the actions of the New York State Assembly have made it possible for New Yorkers to love and care for the children of New York State.”