For Adoptive Parents
Working with an agency in New Jersey or around the country? Guston & Guston can review agency contracts, assist with home study issues and represent you when it is time to finalize your adoption in New Jersey. We can work with you from beginning to end.
Foster to Adopt
If you are a foster parent ready to adopt or just starting to think about the process, Guston & Guston can provide information on working with the State of New Jersey and DCPP to foster and adopt. We are listed with DCPP and can work with you to finalize your adoption at no cost to you – we get reimbursed by the State. We can also assist in negotiating subsidies and other services for hard to place children.
Thinking of controlling your own adoption journey? Deb Guston and the staff at Guston & Guston can guide you through the process of building a profile, establishing a social media presence, fielding and vetting contacts with potential matches, screening medical information from expectant mothers, negotiating adoption support plans and making sure you are in compliance with interstate regulations. Let Guston & Guston be a part of your adoption adventure.
Adoptions by relatives, such as grandparents or siblings can occur for a number of reasons, including the death or incapacity of a parent. Guston & Guston can make these difficult times easier and secure the child’s future with a loving relative.
Interstate Compact on Placement of Children regulates the movement of children from one state to another for adoption. Guston & Guston is highly experienced and can help untangle the interstate application process so you can return home with your adopted child as soon as possible.
We can refer you to qualified Hague-accredited agencies and attorneys for foreign adoptions and then assist with your Foreign Re-adoption when your child comes to the United States. Does your child need U.S. citizenship and a New Jersey birth certificate? Guston & Guston can pave the way for citizenship and the proper documentation your child will need for the future.
Guston & Guston can work with you through your home study process to assist you in finding the right home study agency for your family. Do you have any issues that might become problems during the home study process – health issues, minor criminal offenses, financial problems? Ask Deb Guston to review these issues before you begin the home study process to analyze how these issues may affect your home study.
New Jersey has been LGBT-friendly for adoption since the early 1990’s.
Second Parent and Step Parent Adoptions
Deb Guston has been a pioneer in LGBT adoption in New Jersey, helping clients with the second parent adoptions in New Jersey for years before our courts made such adoptions routine. Deb is also the co-author of a new law in New Jersey that makes second-parent or confirmatory adoptions easier, faster and less expensive.
If a child is born into your marriage or civil union, adoption is still a requirement to create legal parentage for the parent who did not give birth to the child or has no genetic relationship to the child. The United States Supreme Court has recently ruled that if a state places the name of a birth mother’s husband on a birth certificate, then it must place the name of a birth mother’s wife on a birth certificate. New Jersey law now makes this process easier for you.
However, you should remember that while birth certificates are important documents, they are rarely recognized as proof of parentage. This means that all non-birth parents of a child in an LGBT family must use second parent or step parent adoption to secure their legal parentage rights to the child. You may also be able to obtain a court order declaring you to be a parent instead of adopting, speak to Deb Guston about the best approach to securing your parentage rights.
For LGBT parents using surrogacy, adoption and parentage orders secure parentage rights for the non-genetic parents.
Agency, Private Placement and Foster-to-Adopt
LGBT single people and couples are legally treated just the same as heterosexual singles and couples in New Jersey in agency and foster care adoptions.
One significant issue facing LGBT people will be restrictions on adoption based on marital status. Unmarried LGBT couples may find that they can only adopt as a couple in some states. Guston & Guston can recommend LGBT-friendly states and agencies where you can look for adoption placements if you are not married.
LGBT people have continued, even after marriage equality, to face difficulty in obtaining birth certificates for their adopted children. Some states continue to discriminate in issuing birth certificates only to same-sex couples who are married and some resist issuing birth certificates to same-sex couples in all situations. This does not mean a child born in those states has not been legally adopted. Guston & Guston can assist in navigating these difficult situations.
For more information on LGBT adoptions, the following organizations have important and interesting information.
Deb Guston is a Fellow of The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA). She is a Member of the National Family Law Advisory Committee of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NFLAC) and a Member of the LGBT Family Law Institute, a national organization of family lawyers with extensive experience in LGBT family law.
The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys
National Center for Lesbian Rights
American Civil Liberties Union
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sometimes, things don’t go as smoothly as you had planned and a parent contests the finalization of an adoption, a birth father objects to the birth mother placing his child or an agency is accused of failing to properly take a surrender. Deb Guston and Guston & Guston are experienced contested adoption trial attorneys and can help analyze these cases and represent you in court.
When do I need to get a lawyer?
We recommend that you speak with an experienced adoption lawyer when you are first beginning your adoption journey to learn about all of your options and consider all of the legal issues you may encounter. Deb Guston and the lawyers at Guston & Guston offer a comprehensive introductory consultation for people starting their adoption journey.