Couples who cannot have their own biological child or single parents who are looking to start a family can consider adopting a child. The desire to give a child a family, whether it is a local or an international adoption will have a tremendous impact both on the adult and the child or adolescent. It is an important step and, according to law, it is a multi-step process during which the eligibility of the applicant and his/her ability to provide for a child is verified according to certain criteria.
Our adoption solicitors are ready to assist you from the earliest stages of adoption so that you may know everything there is to expect about the process, the steps and the requirements for the future parents.
A divorce lawyer in London from our team is ready to ask any questions about adoption-related matters in the context of divorce. If you already started the adoption process at the time you or your spouse lodge the divorce application, our lawyer will analyse your case and give you details on your options, the next steps, and how the divorce will affect your rights and an adoptive parent.
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Child adoption in the UK
The main conditions to adopt a child are highlighted below by our adoption lawyer:
- age of the child: a child needs to be under the age of 18 when the application for adoption is made;
- status of the child: the child needs to not have been married or in a civil partnership;
- the birth parents: normally, both birth parents need to consent to the adoption; however, this is not the case when they are not to be found, when they cannot express tehri consent (due to mental disability) or when the child faces risks if he/she is not adopted;
- the adopters: they need to be over 21 years of age and they can be single or married, in a civil partnership or in an unmarried couple (same-sex or opposite-sex); likewise, the adoption can be made by the partner of the child’s parent.
Services offered by our specialist adoption solicitors
Our lawyers who specialize in adoption are ready to answer any questions you may have about the process, how agencies match parents with a child and how the child’s accommodation is monitored.
The Adoption Order is mandatory for the applicants in order to become the legal parents of the child. This is issued only after a continuous period of 10 weeks during which the new family has lived together under the Placement Order. These steps are briefly presented below by our adoption lawyer:
- Matching: the applicants (potential adoptive parents) are matched with a child according to suitability and the child’s situation as well as other criteria and the discussions with the adoption agencies involved in the process;
- Placement Order: before the child can move to his/her new home, Social Services issued a Placement Order (unless the biological parents consent to the move);
- Moving in: the child will move in with the adoptive parents and a period of 10 continuous weeks will be monitored henceforth;
- Adoption Order: if the relationship is working and the 10 weeks under the Placement Order have been approved, then the steps obtaining the Adoption Order can commence; our adoption lawyer can provide specific assistance during this important stage.
Our team can assist during each of these stages as well as with a pre-adoption legal discussion so that you may know what to expect.
The 1993 Adoption Convention protects children against illegal adoptions abroad. International adoptions can be subject to different other regulations, depending on the child’s nationality and the local laws and regulations applicable in that country. In these cases, it is highly advisable to work with our adoption solicitors as they have experience in dealing with international adoption cases.
According to the National Statistics Office, the number of children who are being looked after in England grew by 4% in the year ending 31 March 2019, compared to the previous year. The data presented below by our adoption solicitors provides more information on children who are under state care in the UK:
- 75% of the children being looked after were under a care order (through which the child is placed under the care or supervision of a local authority);
- 18% were cared for under a voluntary agreement;
- 7% of the children being looked after were under a placement order.
Children placed for adoption are likely to be placed over 20 miles from home. The average time before a child is adopted (after entering care) in 2019 was 1 year and 11 months, the same as in 2018 and lower than in 2015 and 2016 (when it was 2 years and 3 months). The rime between the decision to place a child for adoption and matching with adopters is down to 8 months in 2019 compared to 10 months in 2015.
Adoption can be a fulfilling path to parenthood for those who are unable to have children of their own. Contact our adoption lawyer today if you wish to know more about how to start the process if you have already begun and are in need of specialized legal assistance.