Building legally strong families through adoption, assisted reproduction law, and estate and life planning.
Christine M. Hanisco
Attorney Hanisco combines over two decades of legal experience and her personal journey with infertility to bring compassionate and skilled representation to her clients. Chrissy’s practice focuses on family building through adoption and assisted reproduction technology (ART law). So that all families are legally secure, she also focuses on estate and life planning tailored toward her clients’ specific needs. She is licensed to practice law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
- Newborn adoption
- Interstate compact cases
- Confirmatory adoption
- Stepparent adoption
- Postadoption contact agreements
- Donor Gamete Agreements
- Egg donor agreements
- Embryo donor agreements
- Sperm donor agreements
- Parentage orders
- Embryo Disposition
- Gestational carrier agreements
- Parentage orders
- Agency agreements
- Traditional (genetic) surrogacy
- Guardianship of Minors
- Private Termination of Parental Rights
- Estate and Life Planning
- Advanced Directives for Health Care
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Matters
Chrissy has been practicing law since 2000, and has a long history of legal service for indigent and needy populations. Before joining Stein Law in 2015, Chrissy spent over 11 years with the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office, where she represented indigent criminal defendants and juveniles. Chrissy’s legal experience also includes representation of adults and children with disabilities, and prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases.
After an infertility diagnosis in 2011, Chrissy began considering private practice and using her legal skills to assist others with similar family building challenges. Since coming to Stein Law, Chrissy has developed her adoption and assisted reproduction technology practices into one that is recognized throughout the country, and includes international clients. Chrissy is passionate about utilizing her legal experience and decades of negotiation skills to help her clients in this emerging and constantly changing area of law. She assists clients with all the legal aspects of surrogacy, from agency selection to contracts to establishing parental rights. When working with surrogates, she makes sure that the surrogate and their family is protected. She regularly works with gamete donors, both egg and sperm, and recipient parents. Chrissy also regularly consults with marital attorneys regarding embryo disposition, and works with individuals and couples who seek to donate their unused embryos to others.
Chrissy’s adoption practice includes all aspects from private newborn adoption to stepparent adoptions. The majority of her private adoption cases involve interstate issues, and she is knowledgeable in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Chrissy regularly represents grandparents and other family members who seek guardianship of a minor and/or adoption of their family member, as well as same-sex couples seeking a confirmatory adoption of their children conceived through assisted reproduction. Chrissy drafted and successfully advocated for the passage of legislation in New Hampshire that requires the Courts to grant confirmatory adoptions even when the couple is married, unmarried couples to adopt, and two interested parties (such as a grandparent and an aunt or uncle) to adopt a child together.
Chrissy feels strongly that all families should be protected and recognized by the law. Her estate and life planning practice adds the additional protections that her clients need to make sure that the person they desire can make financial and health care decisions for them when they cannot. She also assists her clients in drafting wills and establishing trusts that will protect their financial futures and the futures of their children or other beneficiaries.
Originally from Connecticut, Chrissy first came to New Hampshire in 1989 as a student at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. She graduated, cum laude, in 1993 and then spent several years working at the New Hampshire Department of Justice, first as a mediator and then as a paralegal, in the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau. In 1997 she enrolled full-time at New York Law School in New York City, where she was a 3-year recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. While at NYLS she was the Executive Articles Editor of the New York Law School Journal of Human Rights and the recipient of several honors and awards. After graduating with her J.D., cum laude, in May 2000, she clerked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Juvenile Court Department.
Chrissy also is deeply involved in professional and community service. Currently, she serves on the New Hampshire Bar Association Board of Governors, as a Governor-at-Large; as Vice Chair of Resolve New England’s Board of Directors, and Vice President of the Capital Region Mothers of Multiples. Finally, she is also the Chair of the Grievance Committee for the Society of Ethics in Surrogacy and Egg Donation. She also is a past adjunct faculty member at the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, where she taught legal writing and research in both the Paralegal Program and the Legal Nurse Consultant Certificate Program. Chrissy resides in Concord, NH with her family.
- Resolve New England
- Member and Volunteer, 2013 – present
- Professional Member, 2016 – present
- Board of Directors, 2017 – present
- Vice Chair, 2021 – 2023
- Secretary, 2017 – 2021
- Society for Ethics in Egg Donation & Surrogacy
- Member, 2016 – present
- Grievance Committee, 2017 – present
- Chair, 2020 – present
- American Bar Association
- Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee, 2016 – present
- New Hampshire Bar Association
- Board of Governors, Governor-At-Large, 2019 – present
- Legislative Committee, 2016 – 2019
- Capital Region Mothers of Multiples
- Member, 2013 – present
- Parliamentarian, 2014 – 2016
- Vice President, 2020 – 2022
- New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association, 2016 – present
- Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council, Senior Scout Leader, 2005 – 2008
- Professor Vincent Lo Lordo Award for Excellence in Administration of Criminal Justice, 2000
- Journal of Human Rights Award, 2000
- Phi Delta Phi Balfour Scholarship, 1999
- Joseph P. Soloman Public Service Fellowship, 1998 and 1999
- Dean’s Merit Scholarship, 1997, 1998 and 1999
- Joseph T. Arenson Scholarship, 1997, 1998 and 1999
Assisted Reproductive Technology – Surrogacy and Donor Conception
Chrissy knows from experience the stress and heartache of infertility. With 1 in 6 couples experiencing fertility issues, thousands turn to assisted reproductive technology (commonly referred to as ART) to build their families. Chrissy has developed this practice area, utilizing her legal experience, decades of negotiation skills, and compassion to help her clients achieve their dream of being parents. She assists clients with all the legal aspects of gestational surrogacy, gamete donation (eggs or sperm), embryo donation, embryo disposition, agency agreements and clinic consent forms. She represents intended parents of all genders and marital statuses, as well as donors and surrogates.
Every year Chrissy helps several families achieve their dream of becoming parents through newborn adoption. Working with a network of adoption agencies and adoption facilitators throughout the United States, she also frequently represents New Hampshire birth parents in making an adoption plan for their child. Chrissy’s experience with interstate adoptions and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) allows her to work with attorneys promptly and efficiently for the birth parents and assist her clients in returning home with their baby as soon as possible after birth.
Chrissy also regularly assists family members and friends who are caring for a child through guardianship or informal agreements to legalize the parent-child relationship through adoption. Although the process will vary depending on the legal status of the birth parents and whether they agree with the adoption, Chrissy can assist the family in identifying the most cost-effective way to proceed.
In 2020, despite the global pandemic, Chrissy successfully drafted and advocated for the passage of legislation which modernized New Hampshire’s adoption statute and recognizes the need for LGBTQ+ couples, who used donor sperm, donor eggs or donor embryos to have children, to secure their parentage through confirmatory adoption (also known as second parent adoption). Since January 1, 2021, she has assisted several couples in achieving a confirmatory adoption which provides them with a Court Decree that must be provided full faith and credit throughout the United States.
Estate and Life Planning
While many recognize the need for estate planning thinking about death is often unwelcomed and therefore, a task on the to do list that is put off. For others, a lack of understanding or misunderstanding about the probate process, keeps them from engaging in estate planning. Chrissy helps her clients understand what is involved in probating an estate and the emotional and financial impact it may have on their loved ones. She educates her clients on the benefits and the need for not only estate planning, but also for life planning. She works with her clients to make a clear plan that includes who they trust to make health care and financial decisions for them if they are temporarily or permanently incapacitated, as well as to protect their finances for the benefit of their children and other desired beneficiaries upon their death. Chrissy tailors the plan to her client’s specific needs and family dynamic with an eye toward a plan that offers longevity.
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts, #647290, 2001 – Present
- State of New Hampshire, #15334, 2002 – Present
- United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, 2002 – Present
- Frozen Eggs, Sperm, and Embryos: Becoming a Legal Parent after Death, New Hampshire Bar News (November 2021).
- Legislature Updates Adoption and Parentage Statutes to Protect Families, New Hampshire Bar News (November 2020).
- Embryo Law, in Adoption and Reproductive Technology Law in Massachusetts 10-1 (MCLE, Inc., 2nd ed. 2018).
- Establishing Parentage Post-Obergefell for Same- Sex Couples, New Hampshire Bar News, (February 2018)
- Surrogacy 101: What Surrogates and Egg Donors Need to Know About Tax Season! (February 2016)
- Acknowledging the Hypocrisy: Granting Minors the Right to Choose Their Medical Treatment, NYLS Journal of Human Rights, 2000.
- Legal Overview of Donor Conception & Surrogacy, Resolve New England, Webinar, June 2020
- Finding a Donor and Gestational Carrier and Legal Issues, Resolve New England Connect and Learn Seminar, April 2019
- Egg & Embryo Donation: Choosing a Donor & Securing Your Parental Rights, Resolve New England 26th Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference, November 2019
- Selecting an Egg Donor or Surrogate and Making it Legal, Resolve New England Connect and Learn Seminar, March 2018
- Adoption Law in New England, Resolve New England 25th Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference, November 2018
- Egg & Embryo Donation: Choosing a Donor & Securing Your Parental Rights, Resolve New England 24th Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference, November 2017
- Gamete Donation & Surrogacy: The Legal Piece, Resolve New England Connect and Learn Seminar, April 2016
- Egg Donation: Practice & Legal Issues, Resolve New England 23rd Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference, November 2016