Adoption


Adoption dates back centuries and it concerns the transfer of legal rights, responsibilities and the creation of legal relationships of a child. Cygnet Law has a team of family law solicitors who can carry out the process of adopting a child, so the child is treated in law as if born to that person.

There are many complexities surrounding the process which can have significant and transformative effects on the nature of a parental relationship with a child. The law surrounding adopting a child is highly regulated, meaning a person may commit a criminal offence if they don’t correctly follow the law. We aim to make adoption a smooth, stress-free procedure and help you to clearly understand everything involved.

 

The Circumstances

There are many reasons people may want to adopt a child. Some circumstances involve people hoping to adopt a child they are already familiar with. These include:

  • A person wishing to become the adoptive parent of their partner’s child (making the child treated as the child of that couple and no one else)
  • Foster carers who wish for their relationship to become that of parent to a child, and they’ve been caring for the child for a year or more
  • A person or couple seeking to adopt a child who has been living with them for a period of at least three years in the preceding five years

For these kinds of circumstances, Local Authorities require notice to commence a report on the suitability of a person who wants to adopt, and an application would then be made to the court.

However, there are other instances why people want to adopt such as:

  • When a person or couple wishes to look after a child who, for one of a number of reasons, has been unable to live and grow up in the care of their birth parents

In these instances, an authorised agency requires involvement in the approval of a person or couple as a prospective adopter, and carrying out arrangements for adopting the child.

If someone arranges to adopt a child, it’s classed as a criminal offence unless arranged through an agency.

Adoption Orders

To establish a legal relationship between a child and an adoptive parent, an order is needed. This terminates the legal rights, responsibilities and relationship between a child’s birth parent and others who possess parental responsibility. There is one exception to this where a person is granted an order in respect of their partner’s child. In such circumstances, the child becomes treated in law as only the child of that couple with no one else’s involvement. Other people’s legal rights are terminated.

Consent

The consequences when adopting a child can be profound, so orders are made only with the consent of a child’s birth parents. In some situations where a court is satisfied that dispensing the consent of that parent is necessary, for the benefit of the child’s welfare, an order can be made too.

Contact

In law, when making orders to adopt, courts must consider contact arrangements between the child, their birth parents and siblings. Additionally, the law provides that in some situations, orders may be made after a child is adopted.

Advice

Keeping the above in mind, the most common areas in which legal advice for adoption is seeked out include:

  • Someone who is considering whether to make an application for an order.
  • A parent who has asked to consent to the making of an order, or has received notice of an application for an order with the application to dispense their consent.
  • Members of a child’s adoptive birth family, who may be affected by provision for contact arrangements either before, or following, the making of an order.
  • Adoptive parents or birth parents involved with international, overseas adoptions and ones under the Hague Convention.
  • Prospective adopters or members of a child’s birth family seeking advice in circumstances where a child has been placed by an agency.

We understand the complexities which are involved with adopting a child. If you need to discuss issues relating to the above, please contact our expert team of family law solicitors.

FAQ's


If you have any questions, please check out our FAQ’s for more help.

FAQ's Cygnet graphic

Request a Call back


Meet the Team


See All