Adoption involves a complicated legal process. Our specialist lawyers provide an experienced, empathetic and cost effective service.
The adoption process is fairly technical and involves getting the steps right. We can advise you on the best approach and help you draw up the documents. Our Family Solicitors are experts with many years’ experience in all aspects of Family Law.
If you wish to discuss the specifics of your case or want to talk to one of our specialist Family Lawyers, please contact us.
Who can adopt a child and what is the process?
To adopt you must be resident in the UK for at least a year immediately before the date of the application. The adopters must generally be at least 21 years old. The child must live with the adopter(s) for a period before an application for an adoption order can be made. That period differs depending on the background situation :-
- Children placed for adoption by local authorities -. Before adoption, a court must make a Placement Order. This authorises the local authority to place the child for adoption. .Prospective adopters apply to a local authority or independent adoption agency to be assessed and approved to adopt. The assessment and approval process generally takes about 6 months. Once approved, the adopter(s) can be matched with a child, and the child placed with them. An adoption application can be lodged with the Court once the child has been in the adoptive placement for 10 weeks.
- Step parent adoptions - The child must have lived with the step-parents for a period of 6 months before the application is made.Before applying to the Court, the adopter has to give three months’ notice to their local authority of intention to apply for an adoption order. The local authority will conduct an assessment and make recommendation to the Court.The consent of a birth mother/father with parental responsibility will be needed or will have to be dispensed with. It is likely that even if the birth father does not have parental responsibility, the local authority will contact him and seek his views. All birth mothers have parental responsibility.
- Local authority foster carers - the child must have lived with the foster carers for a year before an application can be made. Three months’ notice has to be given to the foster carers’ own local authority. The adopters will need the consent of the birth parent(s) with parental responsibility. Or they will need apply to dispense with their consent as any placement order will not be effective.
- Children brought into the UK for the purposes of adoption - 6 months (if the regulations have been complied with or 1 year if they have not). Anyone who resides in the British Isles must be assessed as a prospective adopter before bringing a child into the UK for adoption. This is also the case if the child is adopted under an external adoption order in the last six months.
- Everyone else - the child must have lived with you for not less than 3 years (whether continuous or not) during the period of 5 years preceding the application
If the parent(s) or guardian of the child do not consent to adoption, an order can only be made if the Court consents. This can be on the grounds that the parent or guardian cannot be found, is incapable of giving consent, or the child’s welfare requires it.