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Do you have to be married to adopt in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Family Law, FAMILY LAW - Family Law

Adoption is a meaningful and life-changing process for both the child and the adoptive parents. In New Jersey, the adoption process is carefully regulated to protect children’s well-being and ensure that prospective parents are ready for the responsibilities of parenthood. Hence, understanding the legal requirements and guidelines for adoption is a crucial step.

However, many wonder whether part of the adoption requirements in the state is for the prospective adoptive parent to be married.

Single individuals and common-law spouses can adopt too

Any individual, regardless of civil status, can adopt in New Jersey provided they meet the other requirements and qualifications required by law. Aside from civil status, the state also does not preclude a person from adopting based on their race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, among other classes.

The determinative requirements

Instead of looking into prospective adoptive parents’ civil status, New Jersey courts and adoption agencies require conditions that weigh much more than an individual’s marital status. These prerequisites include the following:

  • The adoptive parent must be at least 18 years old before the finalization of the adoption.
  • The adoptive parent must be at least ten years older than the child they wish to adopt.
  • The adoptive parent is in good physical, mental and emotional health.
  • The adoptive parent can support and care for themselves and their family.

These are the initial requirements before an individual can adopt in New Jersey. The succeeding parts of the process will involve criminal background checks, home study and other necessary assessments to ensure the final adoption decision is in the child’s best interests.

Proceeding with adoption with care and attention

Adoption is a great responsibility for adoptive parents and an opportunity for children to find a new home filled with love and care. A misstep in the process can lead to distress and disappointment to all parties. Hence, it is essential to proceed with the adoption process with extra care and attention.

Prospective adoptive parents can highly benefit from working with an adoption attorney who is knowledgeable about the specific laws and requirements in New Jersey to ensure a smooth adoption process.