An Equitable Adoption?  You Are Either Legally Adopted or You Are Not.  There is No In-Between. (Part 2)

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By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Probate Attorney

Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

In my previous post, I discussed a case which involves the death of a biological parent in which a child was never formally adopted but raised as if the biological child of a stepparent.  I continue my discussion in this post.

When told the news about this birth father, GA Jr. was stunned; although resistant, he eventually commenced a casual relationship with his father that consisted of only occasional telephone calls and even fewer visits.   It is fair to assume (particularly when viewing the facts in the light most favorable to GA Jr.) that a true psychological parental relationship never came into being.  GA Jr. was by then a young adult, pursuing an acting career, and living in New York City, well beyond the sphere of influence of any of these adults.  At his deposition, he explained how the strangeness of the circumstances, his devotion to his budding acting career, and his father’s unique own peculiarities stood in the way of the formation of more than a casual relationship with him.

GA Jr’s biological father was murdered in 2016, not survived by a spouse or other children.  He also died without a Will.  A blood sample established that he fathered GA Jr.

Decedent’s siblings sought letters of administration, but GA Jr filed a caveat and this lawsuit was soon commenced.  It ended with a summary judgment that declared Gregory, Jr was the only legal descendant and alone entitled to inherit by the laws of NJ intestacy.  In appealing, the siblings argued that the Judge should have permitted additional discovery, which they deemed crucial to the issues.  They also contend that the judge failed to give sufficient weight to N.J.S.A. 9:17-43(a)(1), which declares that “a man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if [h]e and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage…..”  The Court found no merit in these contentions and affirmed.  The biological son won the case.

To discuss your NJ adoption or estate probate matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.


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