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Who Gets Custody of Adopted Children on Long Island, NY?

by | Mar 14, 2023 | Adoption, NY, Child Custody and Support NY

When you make the decision to adopt children into your family, the last thing you expect is to wind up getting divorced. But for any number of reasons, including the stress of adoption, compiled with other issues in the relationship, can cause your marriage to deteriorate and you wind up on the path to divorce. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you’re not alone. Many adoptive parents experience the crumbling of their marriages soon after their adoption goals have been reached, which is even more distressing after a family finally achieves the growth for which they’d been working, sometimes for years.

Below, we explore who might be entitled to custody of an adopted child on Long Island, NY, what factors are considered in determining which party gets custody, and how to get in touch with an experienced New York divorce attorney to help you through the process.

Entitled Parties in Adoption Custody Cases on Long Island, NY

Depending on your situation, more than two parties may be entitled to consideration for custody and/or visitation. This includes the child’s:

Biological Parents

Biological parents are typically considered the first entitled party in an adoption custody case because they are the child’s natural guardians and have a pre-existing legal relationship with the child. For example, in cases where a divorcee has adopted their spouse’s child from a previous relationship, courts will generally give more weight to the biological parent versus the adoptive parent.

However, there are circumstances under which a biological parent may not be considered for custody, such as if they abandoned their child or were found unfit to care for them.

Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents are also entitled to custody and visitation, particularly when the child’s biological parents aren’t in the picture. Adoptive parents have the same legal rights and responsibilities as biological parents, including the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing and education. If both parents are adoptive and are getting divorced, a court will evaluate which parent is the most suitable for primary physical and legal custody.


Grandparents may be entitled to custody in certain circumstances, such as if they have been actively involved in raising the child and/or if the biological or adoptive parents are unable to care for them. Grandparents may also be favored over other relatives if they can provide a more stable home environment for the child.

Other Relatives

Other relatives, such as siblings or cousins are less likely to be awarded custody than grandparents or other close relatives because it can be difficult to prove that these relatives have a strong enough bond with the child or that they can provide a better home environment than other individuals with more custody rights can offer.

Factors Considered in Determining Adoption Custody Cases on Long Island, NY

When determining which party is the best fit for the custody of an adopted child, courts use the same factors as they do when assessing custody for a biological child whose parents are getting divorced. The child’s best interests are always prioritized, meaning that any decision made regarding custody must be in line with what would best promote the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.

These factors include things like how old the child is and what developmental stage they’re at, what kind of relationship the child has with their biological and adoptive parents, the ability of each potential custodian to provide for the child, and the location and stability of each potential custodian’s home environment. Courts also take into account any mental health or physical disabilities potential custodians may have, and if there have been any past instances of domestic violence or drug abuse in the home.

Legal Representation in Adoption Custody Cases on Long Island

Having experienced legal representation in an adoption custody case is essential to help you navigate the complex legal system, ensure that your rights are protected, and give you the best chance of success in court. When choosing an adoption custody lawyer, make sure the attorney has specific experience with these types of cases.

You can expect a veteran family lawyer to provide you with honest and straightforward advice about your case. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we will work tirelessly to advocate on your behalf and protect your rights throughout the legal process. If you have any questions or concerns, we can answer them in a timely manner. Call today for a consultation at 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
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