State Laws and Legislation

New Jersey Adoption Law

Permits single LGBT individuals to petition to adopt? Yes.
New Jersey law permits any adult to petition to adopt. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 9:3-43) DYFS is also specifically required to allow any adult to petition to adopt, regardless of sexual orientation (N.J. ADMIN. CODE 10:121C-2.6)

Permits a same-sex couple to jointly petition to adopt? Yes.
Matter of Adoption of Two Children by H.N.R., 666 A.2d 535 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1995).

Permits a same-sex co-parent to petition to adopt partner’s child or child of the relationship? Yes.
In 1995, a New Jersey appellate court ruled that a same-sex co-parent could adopt her partner’s children. (Matter of Adoption of Two Children by H.N.R., 666 A.2d 535 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1995).

Details: The Department of Youth and Family Services is prohibited from discriminating against prospective adoptive parents on the basis of sexual orientation. (N.J. ADMIN. CODE 10:121C-4.1). Note also a 2005 Superior Court decision regarding the application of the Artificial Insemination Statute (N.J. STAT. ANN. 9:17-44) to a same-sex couple.  The Artificial Insemination Statutes states that “f . . . a wife is inseminated artificially with semen donated by a man not her husband, the husband is treated in law as if he were the natural father of a child thereby conceived.”  The 2005 decision held that in a committed same-sex partnership, in which one partner underwent artificial insemination and the other partner showed “indicia of commitment” (in this case, the couple was married in Canada, registered as domestic partners in New York, and the child had the surname of the partner) that the Artificial Insemination Statute applied to create a presumption that the partner was the child’s parent. (In re Parentage of Robinson, 890 A.2d 1036 (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. 2005))

The legal information provided on this page is provided as a courtesy to the public. It is not designed to serve as legal advice. HRC does not warrant that this information is current or comprehensive.

Updated: Thu, December 10, 2009 - 12:00:33