If you are considering adoption or are already involved in the process and require assistance, Stowe Family Law can advise and assist you throughout. This will include help at whatever stage you require it and to ensure that you understand your legal rights and how it all works.
Stowe Family Law set up the adoption service as a direct result of the high level of enquiries being made but we have always had a team of specialist private children law solicitors who advise and represent clients with a range of matters. These include child arrangements orders; these determine where the children shall live and how much time they will spend with each parent. However, adoption is a specialist area which is often more complicated. The firm therefore wanted to expand this area to ensure that our clients can always get the help they need, especially where family life is concerned.
To speak to one of our highly skilled family solicitors about your matter or about costs please call 01423 532 600 or use the contact form on this page.
As a result, we are now proud to be able to assist clients throughout the adoption process, from initial guidance to legal representation in the Family Court. We are able to offer advice with:
- Domestic adoption – where a child is placed by a Local Authority or UK Adoption Agency advice and assistance throughout the adoption process
- Private Family adoption – adopting stepchildren, or close relatives
- Same sex couple adoption rights
- Assisting with international adoption and the legal implications
- Adoption Order made abroad – legally recognising an Adoption Order made outside of the UK
- Domicile – advice on whether adopting parents are entitled to adopt in the UK
- Re-establishing contact – Legal advice for contacting a birth parent, birth family members or the adopted child
- Post adoption contact cases
- Problems involving post adoption support from a local authority
Adoption and the law
Assistance within adoption work can be wide-ranging. It can include help for people considering adoption and wanting someone there to help them through the process. We can also advise on cases where people want to adopt a child within the family, such as step-children.
Going through the adoption process can be daunting, stressful and time-consuming. Most people who have been through it say there were times when things didn’t seem clear or they didn’t know where they stood. You can therefore seek our help at any time and you will always have someone to assist in understanding documents, process and the legal effects.
After the assessment process, children are matched to prospective adopters and the exciting, but often daunting, introductions are made. Again, this can be a stressful time and difficulties can sometimes arise but you can seek legal help and advice throughout.
Once the children are placed in the adopters’ care, the new family needs to apply for an adoption order. This is usually done through the Family Court. The children must have been living at their placement for at least ten weeks before an application to the court can be made. Once the adoption order has been granted, placement becomes permanent. The children will then have the same legal rights as if they were your own child, such as inheritance.
If you want to adopt children within the family, such as a stepchild, we also offer advice and support on that process. We will be able to review your individual circumstances and provide expert advice on the merit of any application or make you aware of possible alternative options should the need arise. If there is merit for the application then the first step is providing three months’ notice to the local authority and engaging with them whilst they undertake a comprehensive assessment to help the court with any application made after this time. Subject to this assessment, a formal application will then be made to the Court. Normally, there is a first directions hearing where any issues can be considered. The matter will then ordinarily be timetabled for a final hearing. Subject to every thing going well, the Court can make the order and provide the adoption certificate. We can provide help and guidance at every step of the way.
If the adoption is granted, this again gives the adopter legal rights and will cancel out any other legal orders. However, this is not always a feasible route to take and especially if there is another parent with parental responsibility who may object. If you are thinking of adopting a stepchild or child of the family, seek legal advice to review your individual circumstances.
Birth Parents Rights – what if you disagree with adoption?
If you are the birth parent of a child who is in the process of being, or has been adopted by way of a private law application, we can offer you legal advice as well. Provided you have parental responsibility, your consent is required and you should have been asked and given notice. If you do not agree to the adoption, the court will give you chance to say why. This is where a solicitor can help to put your views across. The court can allow an adoption to go ahead without consent if they believe there is a risk to the child or if you are incapable of giving consent. The children’s needs will always be the paramount consideration of the court.
Alternatives to Adoption
Adoption is often seen as the last resort when other legal alternatives have failed. Stowe Family Law solicitors are also able to help advise on these alternative options. This includes, but is not limited to, Parental Responsibility Agreements or Child Arrangement Orders. If adoption is not the best option or is not possible, we can help determine what the best course of action is.
We are quickly building this area of expertise and are able to assist you across most of our offices. Where a specialist adoption solicitor is not available at an office near you, we can offer our services remotely. Please speak to us about your situation and we will work to find out what is best for you.
Get in touch
If you are considering adoption or you are already involved in the process and require assistance, please get in touch with one of our expert solicitors