Adoption Services

Assistance with adoption matters can be wide-ranging.  It can include guidance for people considering adoption and wanting someone there to help them through the entire process. We also advise on cases where people want to adopt a child within the family, such as stepchildren.

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.

  • Our Expert Areas of Adoption

    We can assist clients throughout the adoption process, from initial guidance to legal representation in the Family Court. We are able to offer advice on:

    • 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
    • Surrogacy – in cases where a person has had a child through a surrogacy arrangement but do not meet the requirements for a Parental Order, we can help them to apply for an Adoption Order
    • Assisting with international adoption and the legal implications
    • Adoption Orders 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 Orders

After the assessment process, children are matched to prospective adopters and the exciting, but often daunting introductions are made. Once children are placed in the care of an adopter, 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 child, or children will then have the same legal rights as if they were your own offspring, 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. After reviewing your individual circumstances we will 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 the outcome of the assessment, a formal application can 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 everything going well, the Court can make the order and provide the adoption certificate. 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, 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 an 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 a chance to say why. This is where a solicitor can help you 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.

Our Commitment to You

We will support and guide you throughout your case so that you can be confident of achieving the outcome you want for your family. We want to make you feel like you’re our only client.

Why Stowe

Family law is all we do so, whatever your situation is, it will be familiar to us. Our UK-wide team combines expertise, with exceptional care and empathy delivered locally to you.

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