Most private adoptions are sought by step-parents. This is usually because the step-parent has assumed the role of a parent for a large part of the child’s life. It may be that the absent parent has never had a relationship with their child or is unable to have a relationship due to some disability or safeguarding concerns. However, some private adoption orders may be sought by foster parents or extended family members who have been caring for a child for a significant period of time.
If you wish to make an application for a private adoption, the court will order an initial investigation by the child’s Local Authority. This assessment will be an in-depth piece of work with you and your family to look at your suitability to adopt the child and the views of the child’s birth parents. The assessment will also consider the impact on the child of becoming a legal part of your family, including emotional and sometimes financial implications of this.
In considering whether adoption is in the best interest of a child, the court will also appoint a Guardian for the child. This is usually an Officer from CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). The Guardian will make their own enquiries independently of the Local Authority as to the impact of any adoption order on the child. The Guardian is an independent party whose role is to act always in the long-term best interests of the child.
Private adoption is a very serious step. If an application is successful it removes parental responsibility from the parent(s). In the case of step-parent adoption, this would apply only to the absent parent, not to the spouse/partner of the person applying for the order.
If a final adoption order is made it means that you have all of the same rights and responsibilities as if you had been the birth parent of the child. The child’s relationship with their birth parent(s) would be legally brought to an end. In the case of step-parent adoption, this would not apply to your spouse/partner.
The law in relation to adoption is complex because an adoption order is the most serious form of order the court can make in relation to a child. Here at Lockings our team of family solicitors have assisted many families in applying for private adoption orders. Our family team have the experience to advise you sensibly as to the prospects of success in your case and the next steps you need to take.
If you considering making an application to adopt a child, we offer a free initial chat where we will explain the costs and timescales involved upfront, so you always know what to expect. We will also discuss the availability of legal aid which may be available in your unique situation.
For confidential and friendly advice, contact our family law solicitors in Hull and Beverley for a free initial chat on 01482 300 200 today or send an e-mail enquiry and we will contact you for a discussion as soon as possible.