In New York State, an individual may adopt a person over the age of 18. This grants the person over the age of 18, the legal treatment of a biological child. Adult adoption often occurs for the purpose of establishing legal rights, including inheritance or recognizing a parent-child relationship. New York State does not have strict laws governing who is eligible to adopt as well as who is eligible to be adopted. For instance, in certain states, an adoptee must be a minimum of 10 years younger than the adopter. New York State only requires that the adoptee agrees to the adoption.
The New York Times reports that the first case to test New York State’s new definition of parent is underway. On August 30, 2016 the New York Court of Appeals issued a monumental decision regarding the definition of “parent” in relation to visitation and custody determinations. The case of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C., held that after a party proves “by clear and convincing evidence” that both parties had come to an agreement to conceive and raise a child together, then they will be deemed a “parent” in relation to seeking custody and visitation. Prior to the ruling, New York law held that only an adoptive or biological parent had the ability to seek custody or visitation.