There are various situations where someone adopts a family member’s child, but perhaps the most common is the step-parent adoption, where the child’s parent has remarried or entered into a new relationship and their new spouse or partner wishes to adopt the child.
So what is involved in adopting your partner’s child?
The first thing to consider is the eligibility of the child. To be adopted, the child must be under the age of 18 when the adoption application is made, and must not be (or have ever been) married or in a civil partnership.
The second thing is that the child’s other birth parent normally has to consent to the adoption, unless they cannot be found (which is not unusual in step-parent adoptions), they are incapable of giving consent (e.g. due to a mental disability), or the welfare of the child requires that their consent be dispensed with by the court.
If the other parent does not consent then it is strongly recommended that you seek expert legal advice before proceeding, including upon the possible alternatives to adoption, such as obtaining parental responsibility for the child, or a child arrangements order stating that the child should live with you.
In order to adopt the child you must be over 21, married to your partner or in an enduring relationship with them, and the child must have lived with both of you for at least six months prior to the application.
As to the procedure, before you can apply to the court for an adoption order you must first notify the local authority in writing of your intention to apply, at least three months before the application is made.
The local authority will carry out an assessment and provide the court with a report to help the court decide whether an adoption order should be made.
As to the adoption application itself this is made by completing an adoption application form and sending it to the court with supporting documents and the court fee.
The court will then then fix a first directions hearing, at which it will give directions as to what should happen next, including when the local authority should report, what steps should be taken to find the other birth parent if their whereabouts are not known, and when the final hearing should take place.
If the court decides that an adoption order should be made it will make the order at the final hearing.
If you wish to adopt your partner’s child we can find you a legal expert to assist you, working with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.
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