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Couple who are just friends allowed to adopt, judge says in landmark ruling
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January 3 at 7:06 PM

Couple who are just friends allowed to adopt, judge says in landmark ruling 

The couple, who are not identified in the court papers, became friends in 2000. Later, they decided to adopt a child from Ethiopia but had to petition a court to put the man's name on legal papers as the second parent.

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The couple, who have been friends since 2000, decided to adopt a child together and went to court to add the man’s name as the girl’s father.

In a first of its kind ruling in New York, a Manhattan judge has given a couple who're just friends the green light to become legal co-parents to an adopted girl.

The pals identified, only as LEL and KAL, met in 2000 and have been close friends since, according to court papers.

Several years ago, KAL decided she wanted to become a mom, and LEL offered to be her sperm donor.

But when she couldn't get pregnant, they “decided to instead adopt a child together,” the court papers say.

“They spent years planning and hoping” for a child, and their dream came true in 2011, when KAL was able to adopt a child — identified as G. — from Ethiopia.

RELATED: AMERICANS IN CONGO FIGHTING TO BRING HOME ADOPTED KIDS

They traveled to Africa together to bring the baby home, but because they weren't married, only KAL was able to adopt, filings say.

When they returned to the U.S., the pair petitioned Manhattan Surrogate's Court to have LEL named as a second legal parent, even though they don't live together and are not romantically involved.

Manhattan Surrogate's Court  Judge Rita Mella ruled that a couple who are not romantically involved are legally allowed to adopt a baby, the first ruling of its kind in New York.

Tom Grill/Getty Images

Manhattan Surrogate's Court Judge Rita Mella ruled that a couple who are not romantically involved are legally allowed to adopt a baby, the first ruling of its kind in New York.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Rita Mella did so.

“From the moment they met G,, more than two years ago now, KAL and LEL have functioned as her parents," the judge wrote in a decision from last month.

“G. calls KAL ‘Mommy’ and LEL ‘Daddy,’” and “although they live in separate households,” they “have created a nurturing family environment for G., including a well-thought-out, discussed and fluid method of sharing parenting responsibilities between their homes.”

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She splits time at LEL's house in Brooklyn and KAL's apartment in Manhattan, and they “also spend much time together as a family,” even travelling together to visit each other's relatives, the ruling says.

G, “a good-natured toddler and quick to laugh,” transitions “easily and smoothly between her two homes” and has “good relationships with LEL's domestic partner and KAL's housemate,” the ruling says.

LEL argued that making him a legal second parent was in G.'s best interests, and would provide her with better health care and school options, and a more secure future.

Mella agreed, and used a 2010 state statute allowing “intimate partners” to adopt as a basis for allowing the couple’s the adoption to proceed, noting that the phrase can mean a close, long-term relationship.

She also cited the findings of the social worker who observed the family in action, and determined that “even though their relationship is not based on what many consider a traditional family, they exhibit a love and respect for one another and clearly cherish the family they have created.”

A top matrimonial lawyer not involved in the case, Bernard Clair, said the ruling “expands the boundaries of adoption rights.”

Replies

  • gludwig2000
    January 3 at 7:14 PM

     I think that its a great idea, that both of these people are now her legal parents as well.

  • -Celestial-
    January 3 at 8:10 PM
    Yes

    Quoting gludwig2000:

     I think that its a great idea, that both of these people are now her legal parents as well.

  • SallyMJ
    by SallyMJ
    January 3 at 8:18 PM

    That is weird.

  • JanuaryBaby06
    January 3 at 8:19 PM

    Good for them! I'm glad it all worked out!

  • PortiaRose
    January 3 at 8:21 PM
    Yes.

    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.

  • gludwig2000
    January 3 at 9:02 PM

     

    Why? They were both her parents except except by law. And now that he has been allowed to legally adopt her, she will get all of the benefits due to her from her father. 

    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.

     

  • gludwig2000
    January 3 at 9:06 PM

     

    I don't understand why you and Sally feel this way. This little girl was their daughter, even though they were not in a relationship, and now the courts have agreed which means she will get all of the protections other adopted children get, from both parents. It doesn't take a marriage license or a relationship to raise and love a child, and I think that this little girl is very lucky because now she is legally recognized as belonging to both of these people,  a loving, caring couple of friends. 

    Quoting PortiaRose: Yes.

    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.

     

  • marchantmom06
    January 3 at 9:08 PM
    He doesn't live there for one. And what happens when the friends get married to other people?

    Quoting gludwig2000:

     


    I don't understand why you and Sally feel this way. This little girl was their daughter, even though they were not in a relationship, and now the courts have agreed which means she will get all of the protections other adopted children get, from both parents. It doesn't take a marriage license or a relationship to raise and love a child, and I think that this little girl is very lucky because now she is legally recognized as belonging to both of these people,  a loving, caring couple of friends. 


    Quoting PortiaRose: Yes.


    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.


     

  • SallyMJ
    by SallyMJ
    January 3 at 9:12 PM

    Parents who adopt generally live in the same house. These two do not. That's why it's weird.

    Quoting gludwig2000:

     

    Why? They were both her parents except except by law. And now that he has been allowed to legally adopt her, she will get all of the benefits due to her from her father. 

    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.

     


  • gludwig2000
    January 3 at 9:13 PM

     

    Many children are raised in a one parent household, and this really isn't any different from a child being raised by a single mom. If one of the parents get married, then she will have a step parent. Personally, I think that its really lovely that they were close enough friends and love this little girl so much that they want to be a parent to her. Think about it, if a child is adopted, but later the parents get divorced, does that change how much they love and care for the child? I don't think that it does.

    Quoting marchantmom06: He doesn't live there for one. And what happens when the friends get married to other people?

    Quoting gludwig2000:

     


    I don't understand why you and Sally feel this way. This little girl was their daughter, even though they were not in a relationship, and now the courts have agreed which means she will get all of the protections other adopted children get, from both parents. It doesn't take a marriage license or a relationship to raise and love a child, and I think that this little girl is very lucky because now she is legally recognized as belonging to both of these people,  a loving, caring couple of friends. 


    Quoting PortiaRose: Yes.


    Quoting SallyMJ:

    That is weird.


     

     

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