Posted On: June 4, 2013 by Stephen Bilkis

Maternal Aunt Seeks to Adopt Child

An institution filed a child neglect petition in the family court based on allegations that the mother failed to provide adequate medical care for the infant and had a prior history of neglect findings as to the infant's older siblings. The court issued an order removing the child from the mother's care and sends back the child to the institution for foster care services. Then, the institution removed the child from the mother's care and the child physically entered the foster care. A New York Family Lawyer said the institution placed the child in a foster home with the agency with whom they contracts for foster care and adoption services. The agency consequently placed the child in the home of non-kinship foster parent who has now filed the agency for adoption petition. The child remained in the foster mother's home continuously.

Consequently, the court found that the mother had neglected the child and issued a dispositional order placing the child with the institution. At the hearing, the court approved a change in the child's permanency goal from return to parent to adoption. The agency filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the mother on the grounds of permanent neglect or abandonment, and sought a finding that there was no man who was entitled to notice of and consent to the adoption of the child.

The hearing for the termination of parental rights proceeding was initiated. At the hearing, the court learned that the mother had died and her death ended the proceeding. A New York Custody Lawyer said the court then held a hearing and found that there was no man who was entitled to notice of or consent to the child's adoption. The court directed the agency to submit a written order of disposition and the mother's death certificate.

Consequently, the court signed the order granting the agency and institution the authority to consent to the child’s adoption by a suitable person or persons, subject to the customary approval and order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Later, the order was certified, entered, and registered with the office of the county clerk.

Afterward, a Bronx Family Lawyer said the foster mother executed a written agreement to adopt the child. The agency executed its written consent to the adoption of the child by the foster mother. The foster mother consequently filed the adoption case.

During the pendency, the maternal aunt did not appear in court nor filed a petition for child’s custody or visitation. However after learning the death of her sister, the maternal aunt filed a petition seeking an order of guardianship of the child.

A Bronx Custody Lawyer said the maternal aunt and the agency appeared in court and the case was adjourned for completion of service. The agency, the institution, and the child's attorney appeared, but neither the maternal aunt nor her attorney appeared. On the same date, the referee dismissed the guardianship petition based on the maternal aunt's default.

Subsequently, the attorney of the maternal aunt moved to vacate the default order and restore the custody petition to the court's calendar on the grounds that the maternal aunt was present in the courthouse but was delayed in gaining entry to the building because of the long line, and the attorney was engaged in another proceeding. The referee then adjourned the case. But, the referee consequently denied the application to vacate the default order as to the custody petition, finding that the child was legally free for adoption and the foster mother was pursuing adoption of the child, and therefore custody would not provide the child with permanence.

Consequently, the court denies the agency's motion and orders the institution to file modified papers and complete their submissions immediately.

We always have our constitutional rights as long as we are alive but sometimes those rights are difficult to maintain. If you are a parent who wants to sustain parental rights for your child, you can ask legal guidance from the Bronx County Family Attorney. Furthermore, Stephen Bilkis and Associates also offer the expertise of their Bronx County Child Custody Attorney.