If you are adopting a child or considering going through the adoption process, the specialist adoption lawyers at Lewis Nedas Law can help. We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process, either from the UK or internationally. Our team understand how difficult the adoption process can be and are here to make it as stress-free as possible.
How Do You Adopt a Child?
Adoption is the legal process that gives adopters legal parental rights for a child as if the child was born to them and ends the parental rights of the birth parents.
There are various legal requirements for adopting a child. The person must be at least 21 years of age (there is no upper limit in relation to age) and have been legally resident in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the last 12 months.
Nobody that has any criminal convictions or cautions for offences against children or serious sexual offences will be allowed to adopt, and that also applies to anyone in their household. There are no restrictions relating to marital status, whether you own or rent your home, if you have disabilities or already have children.
Is the consent of the birth parents required?
Usually, the birth parent(s) have to consent to the adoption as they will lose their legal parental rights once it happens. However, if the birth parent cannot consent (for example, for health reasons), are unable to be found, or the child is at risk with their birth parents then consent is not required.
How Does the Adoption Process Work?
The whole process can be finalised in six months using either a local council or voluntary adoption agency. Those applying for adoption have to:
- Complete the necessary paperwork.
- Meet with the agency.
- Be visited by a social worker to determine suitability.
- Have police checks and a medical examination.
- Provide three references.
- Attend preparation classes on the process of adoption.
The social worker will then present a report to the adoption panel. If the panel recommends that adoption is suitable following this report, then the adoption agency can look for a child. Once a match is made, there will be visits and shorts stays initially. After 10 weeks, the party can apply for an adoption order, which replaces the child's birth certificate and officially makes the adult their legal parent with full parental responsibility.
Adopting a Stepchild or Foster Child
It is also possible to adopt a stepchild if the child has been living with their stepparent and birth parent for at least six months before the application (and the council was notified of the intention at least three months in advance). Even in this situation, the local council will need to have the family assessed by a social worker who will provide the court with a report. Similarly, it is possible to adopt a foster child, but the same adoption process has to be completed, as stated above.
Contact our Adoption Solicitors, London
The adoption process can seem like an uphill struggle, and our specialist team will ensure that we assist you every step of the way. Our expert Family lawyers can advise you on the best route to follow and will represent you throughout the whole case.