Adoption.

The adoption process can be an important step to reinforce a family’s structure as well as formalise the legal position of a child’s carers.

Adoption Process

It may be that you wish to adopt your partner’s children so that you become their legal parent and share parental responsibility for them.

Or you might be another relation to the children who has assumed care of them and you want the arrangement to have an official footing.

Adoption

How to apply for an adoption?

A person can apply for adoption if a child has lived with them for three out of five years, although the court can reduce this timescale in some circumstances. In the case of a step parent, an application can be made where they have lived with the child for six continuous months.

The applicant must give written notice to the local authority of their intention to apply to adopt the child, at least three months before the application. This triggers an obligation on the local authority to investigate all relevant matters, and provide a report on the suitability of the applicant and the appropriateness of adoption.

The court can only make an adoption order where each parent consents or the court should dispense with their consent. Consent can be dispensed with on one of three grounds :

The parent cannot be found

The parent lacks capacity to give consent

The child’s welfare requires it

In determining the application the court must have regard to the following:

The child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding the adoption decision having regard to its age and understanding

The child’s particular needs

The likely effect on the child (throughout its life) of having ceased to be a member of
the original family and become an adopted person

The child’s age, sex, background and relevant characteristics

Any harm which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering

The child’s relationship with relatives

The child’s religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background

The emphasis is therefore on the child’s rights and not the parent’s rights.

An adoption of a child is a happy event and cause for celebration, but the process can be confusing and stressful.

Our expert team can guide and assist you through this vital process. For further details, please contact:

Lindsey Walker

Paralegal Support

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Kate Rowley

Solicitor

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