Nashua, NH: The New Hampshire Supreme Court has held that an unmarried man may legally adopt an assenting adult while that adult maintains her legal relationship with her birth mother.
The case, entitled In re Y.L., was decided on July 3, 2018 .
The result was a major achievement for Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. attorney Valerie Raudonis, who represented the man seeking to adopt “Y.L.” Attorney Raudonis undertook her successful appeal after a trial court ruled that the adoption was not permissible under state law.
While the case involved somewhat unusual circumstances, it could have a broad impact on adoption law in the state. “This decision reflects the changing face of the family in modern society,” said Attorney Raudonis. “The Supreme Court wisely followed the principle that adoption statutes should be construed liberally to accomplish their policy goals.”
The Court’s decision turned in part on the distinction between the adoption of an adult versus the adoption of a minor. In order to maintain stability in a minor’s home life, courts require the parental rights of birth parents to be surrendered or terminated before a minor child’s adoption can be finalized.
As the Supreme Court recognized in its decision, however, an adult (as opposed to a minor child) is “readily capable of managing his or her own relationship” with their parents. For that reason, requiring the birth mother to surrender her parental rights over the adult would be pointless. The Court concluded that Y.L.’s adoption was allowed under state law.
Attorney Valerie Raudonis has been practicing law in Nashua for forty years. The focus of her practice is estate planning, probate and guardianship, and family law. She serves as of counsel to the firm of Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C., the largest law firm in Nashua, which serves both individuals and businesses in a wide variety of legal matters, including appeals. Attorney Raudonis can be reached at (603) 883-0797, or contact us here.