Our specialist family lawyers can help with all types of adoption including:
Many people ask for advice about adopting a child that is already a part of the extended family, or is the child of a new partner.
We can advise you regarding the implications of this step which often gives rise to other concerns. It’s particularly difficult where there is an absent parent who has left the home, and even more so if they are still active in the child’s life – for example weekend visits. The adoption process has the effect of extinguishing the rights as a parent of the absent parent and this, of course, can make the situation very challenging. As with all child-related issues, the overriding concern is for the child’s best interests.
There are alternatives to adopting and we can help you explore those. For example, it's sometimes enough for a step-parent or prospective adopter to use family law to take on parental responsibility, or to secure a special guardianship order or residence order.
Adoption is the legal process through which parental responsibility for a child is transferred to an adoptive parent. The adoptive parents take on all parental rights and responsibilities for the child, such as where they live, the schools they attend and medical matters. When a child is adopted, the biological parents give up their parental responsibility for the child.
There are two routes to adopting a child within the UK:
The first step in the adoption process is to contact the adoption agency and provide them with any information they require. Next, the agency will arrange to meet you to assess your suitability. If you are successful at this stage, and want to move forward, the agency will send you an application form.
You may be eligible to adopt a child if you:
• Are over the age of 21
• Have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least 12 months
• Meet the local authority’s selection criteria.
You need to prove that you can meet the needs of the child. There's no universal set of adoption requirements, but there are steps prospective adoptive parents can take to demonstrate your suitability.