The Office for National Statistics recorded that there are 102,037 divorces in England and Wales in 2017.
With more people embarking on second marriages, it is unsurprising that many more families are considering step-parent adoption.
So who can apply for step-parent adoption?
There are certain eligibility requirements that a step-parent will need to meet in order to be able to make an application to adopt their stepchild and these include:
• The step-parent being 21 or over and the child being under 18
• Where the step-parent is resident and how long they have lived there
• How long the step-parent has lived with the child
What is the effect of step-parent adoption?
When a step-parent adopts their partner’s child it brings a legal end to that child’s relationship with their other natural parent and wider family, i.e. Uncles and Aunts and Grandparents.
Who needs to consent to a step-parent adoption?
Anyone who has parental responsibility for a child would need to be consulted before an Adoption Order is made. This includes a birth mother or a father who has parental responsibility.
What is the process for applying for adoption if you are a step-parent?
An applicant will need to give written notice to the Local Authority of their intention to adopt. The Local Authority will then appoint a social worker to prepare a report for the Court providing their recommendation of what they believe is in the child’s best interests.
An applicant will need to wait at least 3 months after giving notice to the Local Authority before they can apply to the Court.
There will usually be one or more Court hearings to determine the application depending upon whether the natural parent consents.
Once the Adoption Order is made, the child’s birth certificate will then be replaced with a certificate which records the applicant as the legal parent.
If you are a step-parent and would like to talk about your rights, please contact Anna Patsalides at Taylor Walton Solicitors on 01727 818525 or Anna.Patsalides@taylorwalton.co.uk